If the town's application is approved, the herbicide triclopyr (trade name Renovate) will be used to aggressively stop the growth of Eurasian water milfoil in Cazenovia Lake. But some have voiced concerns: Is this chemical safe? Is this the best option?
According an intermunicipal council of town, village, and lake association officials, the answer to both questions is yes.
The EPA classifies Renovate as "practically non-toxic," the lowest possible toxicity classification for an herbicide. This rating comes after over 20 years of testing.
"It's a very rigorous process," said Town of Cazenovia Supervisor Liz Moran. "All those tests have to be done using very specific protocols and laboratories that are certified and audited."
According to a document on the town's website, the EPA requires pesticide registrants to submit more than 100 different scientific studies and tests.
The document states that strict testing standards must be maintained by the EPA. This "helps ensure quality results in the way data is conducted, recorded and documented with appropriate quality control. These studies can also be audited by the EPA at any time to ensure data was generated and documented to support the results obtained."
Triclopyr affects the growth of dicots, or broad-leaf plants. Of the plants most common in Cazenovia Lake, a minority are dicots. Of those dicots, one species besides Eurasian water milfoil, water marigold, is highly susceptible to the herbicide.
"The water marigold is distributed throughout the lake, so I think it will recolonize itself," Moran said.
At several town and watershed council meetings, officials have said that native plants will grow to fill the niche vacated by the milfoil. Eurasian water milfoil is currently taking space and resources from native plant life.
The second most abundant dicot in the lake, coontail, has low susceptibility to Renovate.
The particular dilution of Renovate allowed by the EPA (2.5 parts per million) has resulted in no verified cases of toxicity to fish when triclopyr is used, according to the town's Draft Environmental Impact Statement.