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Ossipee board studies milfoil control techniques


May 20, 2010
OSSIPEE — Ossipee selectmen are launching a war on weeds – invasive milfoil in Ossipee Lake.

And they've been learning a lot about controlling this species that has the potential to affect aquatic habitats, possibly property values and the appeal of a recreational lake that borders three towns.

Board members Harry Merrow, Kathleen Maloney and Morton Leavitt have set aside a portion of each recent Monday board meeting to hear from representatives of Aquatic Control Technology, the company that will apply a preferred granular herbicide, 2,4-D, and Cliff Cabral of New England Milfoil who would conduct hand harvesting following the herbicide treatment, and the conservation commission. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services is also involved in overseeing and creating a five-year milfoil mitigation plan.

In past meetings, Merrow and board members said they were concerned about using a chemical that does not often bring permanent results. Merrow worries about the long term unintended consequences of 2,4-D, comparing it with widely used chemicals like Agent Orange that were once thought to be safe and turned out to be deadly.

However, experts, including a limnologist from NH DES, have said that 2,4-D has been used on milfoil for about 60 years with no harm to humans. The herbicide dissipates quickly. Application areas will be posted with a one-day swimming restriction and a 30-day restriction on the use of treated lake water within 1,200 feet of treatment areas for irrigation and drinking. A 50-foot no treatment setback must be maintained around wells, otherwise wells are subject to the 30-day drinking and irrigation restriction, according to information provided by Marc Bellaud of Aquatic Control Technology of Sutton, Mass., at the board's May 3 meeting.

He said permits for the herbicide application will be filed at least 90 days prior to the treatment date (this fall), with notification via direct mail to abutters and newspaper legal notices for the general public.

The board will proceed with the milfoil control plan with the condition that all shorefront property owners with wells near the treatment areas sign off and approve treatment.

In other business, the board approved the hiring of a new police officer, Ian MacMillan, who will replace outgoing police officer Matt Tyler, who is going to head up Freedom Police Department's K-9 program. Also, the board granted a one-week extension for Public Works Director Brad Harriman to review roofing bids for town hall.

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