RAY BROOK - In what's being called a precedent setting move, the Adirondack Park Agency Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a project that will allow the use of a chemical herbicide in the park for the first time.
With the agency's blessing, the town of Lake Luzerne will be permitted to use 1,560 pounds of the herbicide Renovate OTF to combat a widespread Eurasian milfoil infestation in the southern part of Lake Luzerne.
Chemical means of combating invasive flora have never been allowed in the park before and the significance of the decision was not lost on Commissioner Frank Mezzano.
"This could be the equivalent of the first cell tower in the Adirondacks. In other words, we will be seeing more of it because it's a serious problem," Mezzano said. "And if it's a good solution, that's good for everybody."
Adirondack Council executive director Brian Houseal told WNBZ that although the green group isn't totally against the practice of using chemicals to fight invasives, it is keeping a close eye on how carefully the process is being conducted.
"We are concerned that this could be a precedent for the park. Water is one of our most precious resources," Houseal said. "We should be careful about chemicals and be sure that all the conditions are clear in this project so it can be used as a guide in the future."
Houseal said that issues of water quality top the councils list of concerns and that using chemicals in the park's lakes must be done properly.
The council is also concerned about the potential impact that Renovate OTF could have on non-target plants, especially the endangered freshwater marigold.
A member of the Triclopyr acid family of herbicide, it is specifically designed to only target broad-leaved dichotic plants. Like Eurasian milfoil, the freshwater marigold is also a dicot and could potentially be affected by the chemical.