Compiled by Jean English and Heather Spalding
In 2019 the Maine Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) discussed water quality, tracking pesticide use, and mosquitoes and browntail moths. It also granted variances and special registrations for pesticide uses, levied a fine for a violation of pesticides rules, and more.
The BPC, Maine’s lead agency for pesticide oversight, is attached to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF). Its seven-member public board (see sidebar) makes policy decisions. This report covers all 2019 BPC meetings. Complete documents relating to BPC meetings are posted at https://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/pesticides/meetings.shtml. MOFGA posts time-sensitive action alerts related to the BPC at www.mofga.org, in our weekly emailed Bulletin Board (sign up at https://mofga.org/Publications/Bulletin-Board) and on our social media pages. The public can contact the BPC at 207-287-2731 or [email protected].
Heather Spalding, MOFGA’s deputy director and policy director, attends BPC meetings to represent MOFGA’s views. This summary is taken from BPC minutes.
Water Quality Monitoring
The BPC unanimously approved funding to survey pesticide residues in groundwater, a statutory requirement. Mary Tomlinson, BPC pesticides registrar and water quality specialist, said that in previous years the staff sampled 124 to 197 wells that were within one-quarter mile down-gradient from a currently active agricultural field. She wanted to increase the number to 200 and narrow the sampling area. BPC member Dave Adams recommended surveying above- and below-ground water.
According to Tomlinson, Maine’s monitoring program indicated that pesticide contamination does occur in drinking water in domestic wells near active pesticide use sites. Approximately 150 wells were typically sampled until 1994; then only 50 wells were sampled. Of the approximately 150, 9% to 24% tested positive. In 2014, 68% of the 50 wells sampled tested positive – partly because new technology lowered detection limits, and because 90-plus pesticides were included compared with a maximum of seven previously. The reduced sample size may have affected the percent of detections as well.
In two instances contamination exceeded established health advisory levels: in 1994, when a homeowner misused an ant control product; and in 2014, in a well that was steeply downgradient and within 90 feet of a corn crop and where a narrow drainage ditch directed runoff to the wellhead.
The high detection rate of hexazinone (Velpar) in 1994 led to restricted use of that herbicide, identification of best management practices and educational outreach to reduce groundwater contamination.
Regarding surface water sampling, the Penobscot Bay Project focused on seven freshwater streams feeding the Penobscot River to determine the presence or absence of pesticides used in residential areas. The marine waters of Northern Bay, the northern-most reach of the Bagaduce River, were included in order to partner with The Corning School of Ocean Studies, Maine Maritime Academy (MMA), which is studying the declining clam population in the bay. BPC staff collected nine surface water samples from seven locations and nine sediment samples from eight locations in the Bangor region, Castine region and Bucksport in mid-September 2018. MMA deployed a Polar Organic Chemical Integrative Sampler (POCIS) in Northern Bay for a total of 22 days from late August into September 2018.
Pesticides were detected in samples from all sites – some at less than reporting limits – and eight pesticides were detected overall. Atrazine and two degradates were most frequently detected, and all were below the reporting limit. Atrazine and deethyl atrazine were detected in the first Stillwater River sample, but not in the duplicate sample – not surprising since detection limits are 0.0022 and 0.0017 parts per billion (ppb) respectively. Imidacloprid exceeded the chronic Aquatic Life Benchmark (ALB) for invertebrates, 0.01 ppb. This ALB is derived from a life-cycle test with the most sensitive invertebrates (usually midge, scud or daphnids). No other exceedances occurred.
The surface water POCIS samples were analyzed for 102 pesticides. Six were detected, including atrazine, deethyl atrazine, hexazinone, metolachlor ESA, prometon and simazine.
Sediment samples were analyzed for 15 pyrethroids. Bifenthrin, a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide used in urban and agricultural settings, was detected in samples from all sites, but only in eight of nine samples. Cyfluthrin, cypermethrin and deltamethrin were detected only in the Stillwater River sample.
Tomlinson planned to repeat the sampling during the spring of 2019.
Another project, “Ten Cities,” is examining surface water pollution in Maine’s 10 largest cities by population. Asked if glyphosate would be included in the test panel, Tomlinson said it was not detected in the fall sampling but it may be different in the spring. Testing for glyphosate incurs a separate cost, so it was not included in the past due to financial constraints. Megan Patterson, BPC director, said the BPC could submit a budget order to cover these additional costs. The board unanimously approved $80,000 for water testing, specifically including glyphosate testing. A report on this project is expected in spring 2020.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coordinates state activities to prevent vector-borne diseases – including coordinating mosquito and disease monitoring in Maine. The presence of mosquito-borne diseases and the species of vector mosquitoes present in Maine have risen in recent years. Sara Robinson of the Maine CDC said that the center began monitoring mosquitoes in 2001. In 2009, 15 horses died from EEE. Maine saw its first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in 2012, and in 2015 saw a human case of EEE (fatal) and of WNV. In 2018 a horse was infected with WNV, and mosquito pools from Bangor tested positive – the farthest north WNV has been found. In 2015, the Maine CDC launched a much larger monitoring response due to concern about the Zika virus. Although Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have not been found in Maine, they have overwintered in Massachusetts. In 2019 the Maine Medical Center Research Institute began testing its established mosquito colonies (from mosquitoes collected in the wild) for pesticide resistance. Maine CDC complements federal CDC funds it receives with funds from the BPC, testing more sites when funding allows. In 2017, the federal CDC gave the center $600,000 to monitor Zika; in 2018, zero.
Asked about Jamestown Canyon Virus, Robinson said that four to five species of mosquitoes found in Maine can carry it. Two cases have occurred in Maine; both patients developed encephalitis. The federal CDC routinely tests for it and averages about 13 cases per year nationwide.
Patterson commented that mosquito testing also determines whether an aerial application should be pursued, adding that the board would assist in the event of an arboviral threat. The board has responsibilities to provide monitoring, provide lists of registered products and to indicate exclusion areas. Patterson noted that the board has a statutory obligation to provide Maine CDC with, at minimum, $25,000. In 2018 it provided $50,000, and in 2017 the Maine CDC received funding from the federal CDC in response to Zika concerns, so the board was not asked to provide funding. She added that the Maine CDC tries not to rely solely on funding from the BPC but in 2019 would not receive any federal monies. The board granted $100,000 to the Maine CDC for mosquito monitoring, which was to cover sites from Augusta southward and sites that coincide with UMS campuses such as Fort Kent and Machias.
The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program requested and received $6,762 from the BPC to help with ongoing mosquito surveillance and identification, to develop a GIS-based mosquito habitat mapping system and to continue outreach about vector-borne diseases. Kathy Murray, IPM specialist with the Maine DACF, said that surveillance provides early warnings to protect public health. She has been focusing on the central Maine area and on two species of mosquitoes known to carry EEE.
Controlling Browntail Moth Near Marine Waters
Maine pesticide statutes state that only products with active ingredients approved by the BPC may be used to control browntail moth within 50 to 250 feet of marine waters. The board listed approved active ingredients in January 2017 after considering products that commercial applicators told the Maine Forest Service (MFS) were effective. Jeffrey Gillis, president of Well Tree, Inc., wrote to the board in April 2019, asking why permethrin was not listed. Patterson said the board based that decision on a risk analysis conducted by the previous BPC toxicologist.
Pamela Bryer, BPC toxicologist, said that product assessments began in 2006, and newer models and technology exist now. Also, the risk evaluation was based on a worst-case scenario. Bryer said she could reevaluate the numbers. BPC chair Deven Morrill said that given the data they had at the time, the prudent decision was not to allow permethrin. Gillis said that bifenthrin is also a synthetic pyrethroid, and although it and permethrin have different properties, it could potentially present the same risk to water bodies if used incorrectly. He added that permethrin is labeled for fruits and vegetables, and browntail moths often attack apple and similar trees. He concluded that everyone is coming to the discussion from different areas of expertise and he would like future opportunities to collaborate. Patterson suggested reviewing the list annually, possibly including a public comment session. Bryer suggested that the board avoid determining efficacy of active ingredients, and that it work with MFS on a revised list. Gillis noted confusion among his customers about the role of the board versus that of MFS. He believes that some information is not presented to the public correctly. Allison Kanoti, state entomologist, asked the board to revisit imidacloprid, as it is ineffective against browntail moth.
Bryer worked with Tom Schmeelk, forest entomologist with MFS, to assemble a round-table discussion with stakeholders to discuss the risk assessment process and potential active ingredients that may be used near marine waters. Bryer was assessing risks for the 42 pesticides to present to the BPC in 2020.
Heather Spalding of MOFGA asked about a pathogenic fungus that attacks this pest. Patterson said the fungus is a universal pathogen for lepidopteran species and that MFS noted that it had some impact, depending on weather. She added that Dr. Ellie Groden of the University of Maine is researching the effects of weather on the efficacy of the fungus. Patterson said the fungus reportedly is difficult to grow on inoculum and that previously, infected individual caterpillars were used to spread the fungus – a laborious process.
Patterson said the staff would notify the Maine Lobstermen’s Association of policy changes regarding browntail moth control.
Fumigation, particularly soil fumigation, is increasing in some agricultural sectors in Maine. The BPC recently adopted rules on supplemental certification for private applicators who make soil and/or nonsoil fumigation applications. Patterson said the BPC staff will provide training about the new rules, which became effective on January 1, 2020, using the commercial soil fumigation test and the national soil fumigation manual.
Maine State Apiary Program
Jen Lund, Maine state apiarist and the sole employee of the Maine Apiary Program, described her program to the BPC. Lund’s duties include inspecting migratory honeybee colonies that are entering Maine to determine the presence of regulated diseases, parasites and undesirable genetic material. She must also issue permits for all incoming hives – just over 50,000 in 2019. That number has decreased in recent years because blueberry growers did not want to pay for pollination when wild blueberry prices were low. Of those incoming hives, Lund inspected 2,658 and found one problem with virus and varroa mites, but that beekeeper likely will not return to Maine. Before hives arrive in Maine, they need a clean bill of health from the state of origin.
Lund also licenses all Maine beekeepers, largely to prevent disease. Currently 1,193 resident beekeepers own 10,058 hives. As of November 2019, Lund had visited 161 of these beekeepers and inspected 1,440 of their hives. Almost 97% of Maine beekeepers are hobby beekeepers (they have fewer than 30 hives).
Lund’s hive autopsies show that about 70% of losses resulted from varroa mites and viruses; 25% from queen loss, starvation and/or poor winter; and 5% from other causes. She sent 15 samples to the Beltsville Bee Diagnostic Lab, which discovered one case of American foulbrood.
She surveys all licensed beekeepers each year to learn about their hive management and losses. During 2018-19, about 45.2% of hives were lost – most during winter. This was up from 43.4% the previous year. Most losses occur in more remote parts of Maine, and fewer losses occur where a strong bee association is nearby.
Regarding varroa mites, Lund said they latch onto the abdomen and undersides, digest bees’ fat bodies and slurp them out. Fat bodies are vital to insects, supplying extra energy in hard times, serving as an immune system against disease and helping with detoxification. One bee can have four to five mites on it at one time. Lund said she finds that IPM is a good approach to solving problems, as is monitoring the impact of steps taken. In fact she wrote a grant with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to obtain funds to distribute 1,500 mite wash jars. To use the jars, beekeepers put half a cup of bees (about 300 bees) into the jar with alcohol, shake the jar and then dump the contents into a pan and count the mites. The number of beekeepers using alcohol washes has increased to about 31%. Lund also said beekeepers try to prevent establishment of varroa mites by using bottom boards and brood disruption. If that is unsuccessful, they then use oxalic acid, formic acid, or another product labeled for beehives.
Maine also participates in the National Honeybee Health Survey, a USDA-APHIS program that tests hives from different parts of the state for pests and diseases.
Pesticide levels in wax from Maine hives are pretty good compared with levels in other states, said Lund. One investigation in 2019 into a suspected hive death by pesticides turned out to be due to starvation.
Lund reaches out to many groups, including new beekeeper classes, UMaine Cooperative Extension workshops, beekeeper club meetings, pesticide applicator trainings, conservation groups, land trusts, schools, libraries, Rotary clubs and state/national/international beekeeping meetings. She spoke at this year’s Region 1 Pesticide Inspector Residential Training meeting about basic bee biology, and with the Aroostook Band of Micmacs about non-managed bee pollinators. Lund also participated in two BPC and Cooperative Extension-organized pesticide applicator trainings in 2019, and she is helping set up beekeeping cooperatives in rural communities such as Greenville, Houlton and Millinocket.
In March 2020 Lund would like to attend a national certified investigator and inspector training in Raleigh so that she can testify in court. She also hopes to do more honey, pollen and wax testing for the state.
Finally, Lund noted that for the first time since 2003, Maine will host the Eastern Apicultural Society Conference in 2020 in Orono. This five-day event usually attracts 700 to 900 beekeepers.
Aminocyclopyrachlor Damages Trees in Oregon
Patterson told the board of a U.S. Forest Service presentation about a 12-mile corridor of trees in part of Oregon known for its ponderosa pines. Many of the trees were harmed by applications of the herbicide Perspective (aminocyclopyrachlor or ACP), used in 2013, 2014 and 2015 to control broadleaf weeds and brush. A total of 2,100 dead or dying trees were felled so that they wouldn’t fall on roads. They were not turned into forest products due to concern about ACP residue in the sawdust, but ultimately the lumber will be milled and the sawdust carefully managed to avoid its use around plants. She added that Oregon no longer allows use of ACP in rights of way, natural areas, restoration areas, bogs, swamps, marshes, wetlands and ditches. She said the BPC staff recently received two ROW variances requesting use of ACP.
Tracking Pesticide Sales and Use
Board staff and constituents are now working successfully with the online Maine Pesticide Enforcement, Registration and Licensing System (MEPERLS). The staff suggested incorporating required reporting within the system, allowing dealers and applicators to report end-of-year sales and use in an online form linked to product registration data. This would force the data to be entered consistently and would allow accurate reporting. These forms currently are submitted on paper or through email as static digital documents. Also, the current digital but static fillable PDFs used for inspections could be replaced with interactive flows within MEPERLS, creating fully searchable enforcement data. This would enable inspections using a tablet and would make enforcement assessments easier. Preliminary estimates suggest a cost of $60,000 to $90,000, with $38,000 of that for developing inspection forms. The latter will save time because inspectors now have to search for and enter information multiple times.
Morrill was concerned that the MEPERLS system was supposed to have cost $200,000 when pitched five years ago and to date has cost well over $1 million. Patterson said that some initial work was not viable but still had to be paid for, and that the above proposals would add functionality that was not included in the initial budget. The board approved funding the MEPERLS development project.
Training Migrant Workers
Since 1995 the BPC has supported a Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Safety Education program. It continued that support by approving the 2019 request for $5,360 from the Maine Mobile Health Program and the Eastern Maine Development Corporation, which trained 421 migrant agricultural workers during the 2018 season.
At the request of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the BPC approved an extended Special Local Needs [24(c), SLN] registration of Gowan Malathion 8 Flowable for use on blueberries. This increases for five years the maximum application rate of the insecticide to control spotted wing drosophila (SWD) in blueberries, from the current 1.25 pints per acre three times per year to a maximum of 2.5 pints per acre twice per year. The board approved the request despite having no data on the efficacy, need or quantity of use of the product in Maine and despite questions about why the manufacturer doesn’t change the label rather than continuing to request 24(c) registrations.
UMaine Cooperative Extension also requested and received a 24(c) registration to increase the application rate of Gowan Malathion 8 Flowable on cane berries from 2 pints per acre a maximum of three times per year to four times per year. David Handley, vegetable and small fruit specialist, said the berries need to be sprayed every five to seven days for SWD; that growers want a product with a preharvest interval of three or fewer days; that growers are also using spinosad and synthetic pyrethroids but worry about resistance to spinosad; that synthetic pyrethroids are hard on beneficial insects; and that netting with at least 1 mm mesh completely covering a planting, with double doors at the entrance, has been successful but is expensive and not easy to achieve.
The board approved Extension’s request for a 24(c) registration for Loveland Products’ Malathion 8 Aquamul for use on blueberries, to increase the maximum application rate to control SWD.
UMaine Cooperative Extension requested a 24(c) registration for Express Herbicide with TotalSol (FMC Corporation) for spot application and bunchberry control in lowbush blueberries. The expanded spot applications are to control labeled weeds during the prune year, in the fall after harvest and in the spring of the non-crop year. BPC member John Jemison asked if anyone has tested water for this fairly soluble product. David Yarborough, formerly the wild blueberry specialist and now retired from UMaine, said that if applied correctly, the herbicide would not have to be used annually. Bryer said a study in Sweden showed it was mostly mineralized in the top 15 centimeters of soil. BPC member Curtis Bohlen added that studies show that the active ingredient is metabolized relatively rapidly in loamy soils but may act differently in saturated or sandy soils (or, as Jemison stated, in our acidic soils versus the alkaline soils in one study). Darren Hammond of Wymans said that in Canada, spot spray applications of Express are more effective in spring than fall. He added that Canadian growers have to wait until a little later in the spring, when soils would not be saturated. Also, said Hammond, once bunchberry is controlled, four to six cycles could pass before another treatment would be needed. Having Express as an option will likely result in lower use of hexazinone and less material that might contaminate groundwater, he noted. Tomlinson said that blueberry areas are tested every four to six years, and sampling would occur in 2020. The board approved the SLN for two years contingent on adding the active ingredient to the panel of testing for 2020.
The BPC staff approved variance permits for Asplundh Tree Experts, Railroad Division, to control vegetation along the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad right of ways; for RWC, Inc., to control vegetation in right-of-way areas with the condition that Method 50SG or Method 240SL (both with active ingredient aminocyclopyrachlor) not be applied within 25 feet of water; and to the Maine Department of Transportation to control vegetation in right-of-way areas with the condition that Streamline not be applied within 25 feet of water.
In a surprise move to those who have followed the BPC for decades, the board denied a variance request to treat invasive plants. Taylor’s Invasive Plant Control of Richmond, New Hampshire, sought a variance from Chapter 29, Section 6, Buffer Requirements, to treat invasive plants on Biddeford Pool Land Trust (BPLT) property with metsulfuron and triclopyr. This location includes an area designated as significant wildlife habitat by Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The BPC staff received six emails from opponents of the application. Patterson said the BPC staff wanted board input partly because of the seeming lack of continuity and clarity of land management approaches and goals. Board members asked several questions about the property, the species present and control methods for invasives. BPC member Clark Granger was concerned with the proposed September application of the herbicides, as most plants would have gone to seed by then. He did not think the application followed IPM, and he did not like the setup for long-time herbicide use at the site. BPC member Jack Waterman said the benefits would be very short term. Morrill said that the proposed herbicide treatment did not pass the risk-benefit analysis, adding that the board wants to protect surface water. He encouraged the applicant to return later to discuss the plan.
Pesticide Certification Numbers
John Pietroski, manager of pesticide programs, said that 541 people hold Agricultural Basic Pesticide Applicator licenses, 1,046 have Private Pesticide Applicator licenses, 804 hold Commercial Master Applicator licenses and 1,050 have Commercial Operator Applicator licenses, for a total of 3,441 licenses. In 2019, 138 programs were approved for recertification credits for a total of 336 credits.
Funding Pesticide Education Position
At its October 27, 2017, meeting, the BPC approved a $65,000 grant to UMaine Cooperative Extension for a combined Pesticide Safety Education Program and Pesticide Applicator Training position for one year. Kerry Bernard completed writing the UMaine Cooperative Extension training manual as well as additional work. Morrill asked Bernard how the training at the Maine state prison went. Bernard said the collaboration with Extension’s Mark Hutchinson, who works closely with the inmates and thought applicator licensure might be a valuable addition to their resumes, worked well. Bernard added that the inmates took the agricultural core and the vegetable exams. The board granted $65,000 to Extension for a combined Pesticide Safety Education Program and Pesticide Applicator Training position for another year.
Educating About IPM
The BPC staff asked for the board’s input regarding expanding public awareness of the BPC and its function. Patterson said that the staff is using push notifications on Facebook – i.e., paying a small amount to get information to a larger audience. Adams asked how to get the general public to attend meetings. Morrill suggested targeting media campaigns, Facebook ads, and/or media buys rather than giving talks. Gillis said the general use pesticide dealer sign that is in most stores directly addresses those whom the BPC wants to reach; also, the storm drains and rubber ducky ads previously used were very relevant. Mary Cerullo, associate director for Friends of Casco Bay, said some communities would love the board’s input on local ordinances – something Patterson supports. Community member Jody Spear said that her community had its own expert and is trying to promote organic pest management rather than IPM. Morrill suggested that staff ask a few groups for ideas about how to bring the board’s message to the public. Patterson described the social media, infographics and artwork used in Portland, Oregon, to inform the public about gypsy moth control. She noted that the Get Real Get Maine campaign budget has reached $470,000 to date. The BPC unanimously voted to authorize BPC staff to spend up to $300,000 on an education campaign. A board member will be part of the panel that reviews campaign proposals.
Pesticide Application Notification Requirements
Following a request from Representative Bill Pluecker of Warren, the BPC decided to convene a meeting of stakeholders to discuss strengths and potential weaknesses of its current pesticide notification registry and regulations. Those regulations establish procedures and standards for informing the public about pesticide applications in their vicinity, both indoors and out, agricultural and non-agricultural, aerial and ground sprays, and in schools and on school grounds. The board decided to hold a public forum on the topic at its January 2020 meeting. Current pesticide notification regulations are posted at https://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/pesticides/documents2/bd_mtgs/jan20/All%20Items-original%20posting.pdf.
In an email, Jody Spear asked that the board rescind registration for J.R. Simplot’s plant incorporated (genetically engineered) protectants for late blight in potatoes. She provided a 2015 article by Jeffrey Smith, “Why Scientists are Worried about the GMO Potato and Apple,” and “Interview: Dr. Caius Rommens Questions Biotechnology Safety” by Tracy Frisch, Eco Farming Daily.
Alvin Winslow, a certified crop advisor with Winslow Agriculture LLC, said retaining this product registration would help the potato industry stay competitive. Tomlinson said there are two registrations for Simplot, both for late blight protection. Jake Dyer of the Maine Potato Board said that these potatoes currently are not being grown in Maine.
Linda Titus of Ag Matters would like the board to remove the requirements for recordkeeping for use of disinfectants in postharvest wash tanks, such as those used for washing leafy greens, because growers must record these applications under the Food Safety Modernization Act and are being inspected by Quality Assurance and Regulations inspectors based on those records. Patterson said that per BPC Chapter 50, Record Keeping and Reporting Requirements, commercial agricultural producers must maintain records of pesticide applications. Additionally, the board’s policy on applications requiring an Agricultural Basic license states that production begins with the growing medium and ends when the product leaves the farm – which includes the applications Titus described. This language appears to require that growers maintain records when they use dips and washes on produce before it leaves the farm. Patterson said some common active ingredients in dips and washes are bleach products and hydrogen peroxide, among others.
Titus pointed out that a restaurant making the same type of application does not have to report it. Growers are asking if this information needs to be recorded in the pesticide logbook. She added that some growers are not aware of this requirement; that farmers who do not fall under the produce safety rule do not need to record water treatments; and she wanted to know about regulations for those using single pass water. Patterson said there is no licensing requirement for this record keeping. Morrill suggested educating about the topic.
In two other emails, Jody Spear urged the board to ban use of all neonicotinoid insecticides.
Assessing Resistance to Bt Corn
Patterson said the IPM Council had suggested re-opening the Plant Incorporated Protectants Environmental Risk Advisory Committee (ERAC) to assess Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) resistance in insect populations feeding on genetically engineered Bt corn. The council discussed results of summer Bt resistance research and subsequent needs at its fall 2019 meeting and will return to the board with a request. Lauchlin Titus said that Seminis is one of the few companies selling Bt sweet corn. Last year almost all Seminis growers told Titus they had some pressure from corn earworm, so Seminis collected some insects and is testing them for resistance. Titus noted that no one knows if Bt resistance is an issue with field corn, because it is not monitored as carefully as sweet corn. Growers generally assess field corn stand quality at harvest, when larvae are no longer present. Titus said Maine growers used to find small, dead corn earworms (only one per ear because they are cannibalistic), but now they are finding large corn earworms, so the insects are not dying, indicating that they are no longer susceptible to Bt. He suggested someone determine where they are overwintering now versus 20 years ago.
New England Rodent Academy
The New England Rodent Academy, held in October 2019, provided in-depth information about preventing, monitoring and managing rodent pests of concern to public health and structural damage. The BPC provided $3,286 for the academy.
Aerial Herbicides for Forests
The last session of the Maine Legislature passed a resolve (LD 1691) directing the BPC to work with the forest products industry to monitor aerial herbicide applications. Patterson said the resolve requires that a neutral third party observe the applications. The BPC staff is working with an auditing firm familiar with forestry practices. The Maine Forest Products Council had tentatively agreed to cover the costs. Herbicides were applied from mid-July through September on a total area of approximately 15,000 acres.
Per a request by Patterson, DACF approved an additional environmental specialist III position for the BPC staff to help with increasing registrations and water quality work. Patterson said she would like to revive the fairly robust water quality program that the BPC formerly had. The BPC also had a vacant environmental specialist III position after Anne Chamberlain resigned to start a business using drones for aerial photography.
Maine Certification Plan
The BPC staff had to create a state plan showing that Maine’s pesticide regulations and policies comply with federal standards. John Pietroski, BPC manager of pesticide programs, presented the state plan, which required only minor revisions for compliance. The BPC approved the plan for submission to the EPA.
Obsolete Pesticides Collection
Each October the BPC, in concert with Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), conducts a program to collect and properly dispose of banned and unusable pesticides from homeowners, farms and greenhouses. Amanda Couture, BPC certification and licensing specialist, told the BPC that 79 people participated in the 2019 collection, with a total of 7,510 pounds collected – a considerable increase over the 4,680 pounds collected in 2018. The board discussed the benefits and downsides of offering the program to commercial entities.
The board approved a consent agreement with Tick Talk of Rockport, Maine. In this case, an individual on the notification registry was not notified before an applicator treated property across the street from her home. Wipe samples from her mailbox and van tested positive for residue of Cross Check Plus Insecticide (active ingredient bifenthrin). Tick Talk was fined $750.
Members of the Maine Board of Pesticides Control
Curtis C. Bohlen, director, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership, University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service, Portland (public member and vice-chair of the BPC)
Bruce V. Flewelling, potato grower, Easton (agricultural expertise)
Clark A. Granger, consulting forester, Woolwich (forestry expertise)
John M. Jemison Jr., water quality and soil specialist, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Orono (water quality and soil specialist)
Deven Morrill, licensed arborist, Lucas Tree Experts, Portland (public member and chair of the BPC)
Dave Adams, commercial applicator, Dasco Inc., Presque Isle (commercial applicator expertise)
Jack Waterman, physician, Waldoboro (medical expertise)