Vote No on Measure FF

Pauline Bondonno, Executive Director, Community Health Education Institute
Monday November 05, 2018 - 10:46:00 AM

Measure FF will permit the Park District to remove trees and vegetation from 540 acres in East Bay Regional Parks and spray thousands of acres with herbicides and pesticides endangering the water supplies. Park staff have noted off the record that if the measure goes through the parks will not be recognizable. 

The vegetation management workers are spraying many gallons of pesticides and herbicides in East Bay Parks where people sit. In 2017 the park district sprayed 113 gallons of Glyphosate or Round Up , which has a very long half-life, up to one year depending on the soil composition. The California Environmental Protection Agency lists glyphosate as a carcinogenic chemical under the state’s Proposition 65, which requires the state to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. 

According to the Executive Summary from East Bay Regional Parks the Passage of Measure FF will have many adverse effects on the community. This includes to residents, animal life, sedimentation, to park visitors, to ridge winds and the creation of more carbon dioxide. 

The report talks about “significant, short-term adverse alternation of community character to neighborhoods at the northwest corner of Strawberry Canyon and at Tilden Regional Park by the merry-go-round and at the entrance to the Selby Trail.,” 

Perhaps the greatest concern is the potential adverse health effects the document cites of herbicides to vegetation management works, nearby residents and users of parks and open spaces. A close friend, a vegetation management worker in the South Bay, exposed to herbicides and pesticides, died of cancer at the age of 58. Park staff have been seen spraying with no protective gear so they are exposed as well .In August protests at Bayer Chemicals in Berkeley, pointed our workers’ exposure to Round Up at the regional parks. 

Round Up has been sprayed 50 feet from Lake Anza according to one resident who watched the park ranger apply it at the end of the swimming season. She also saw him apply Round Up to the lawn where families sit outside of Lake Anza. There are many anecdotal reports of Round-up sprayed by picnic tables in a number of East Bay parks where visitors picnic, as well as near water. 

The executive summary notes that animal life will be damaged by the implementation of FF. I have seen no ducks in Lake Anza for a while. They were previously always there. There is the dose-body size relationship to consider for both animals and children exposed to pesticides and herbicides. 

“Potential damage to wildlife including the endangered California red-legged frog and the threatened Alameda whipsnake, potential damage to wildlife habitat including critical Alameda whipsnake habitat, and potential damage to nontargeted vegetation including the endangered Presidio clarkia and the threatened pallid Manzanita by heavy equipment, tree skidding, and application of herbicides, minimized by mitigation measures and best management practices. “ 

In January a California court halted a state program allowing pesticide spraying at schools, organic farms and backyards across California because of inadequate public disclosure of the chemicals’ harms. 

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s statewide “pest management” program required no site-specific analysis of risks before the application of 79 pesticides, including some known to cause cancer and birth defects and to be highly toxic to bees, butterflies, fish and birds. 

Judge Timothy M. Frawley ruled that the state agency failed to adequately review impacts or provide adequate notice of pesticide spraying. The agency also didn’t account for the full range of dangers caused by the program, including risks of contaminating water supplies and the cumulative danger of adding even more pesticides to the more than 150 million pounds of pesticides already being used in California each year. 

“We are thrilled that the court has ruled that the state does not have free rein to use pesticides as a first resort and hope that this decision will inspire the Department of Food and Agriculture to move toward sustainable pest-management practices that honor the public’s desire to make protecting the health of our communities and food supply the top priority,” said Nan Wishner of the California Environmental Health Initiative. 

As a group we can defeat this measure, please help educate others and vote against Measure FF.