A Cost Study of Pesticide Regulations:
Spartina Management and Willapa Bay
Joanne Pearson Markert
Spartina alterniflora is an aquatic weed that covers over 3,500 acres in Willapa Bay. Spartina inhabits valuable tideflats that are usually covered with phytoplankton, diatoms, eelgrass and algae. Other wildlife such as salmon, shellfish and shorebirds feed on these organisms. Because of the threat to natural resources, control of Spartina has become a focus of the state legislature, state agencies, federal agencies and private landowners. Spartina impacts the environment by converting mudflats to meadows, replacing wildlife habitat and contributing to local economic losses. Integrated weed management (IWM) is selected as the preferred strategy for Spartina control. IWM uses combinations of control techniques such as hand pulling, mowing, covering and spraying. Permits were required for mechanical and chemical control efforts. A permit and license are still required for herbicide treatments. The aquatic pest control license is needed for pesticide applicators. The licensing process provides valuable information on pesticide formulations, equipment and spill prevention. It is recommended that the license be supplemented with recertification workshops that deal specifically with Spartina and the mudflat environment. Annual workshops would emphasize improvements in control strategies and aim to reduce misuse of pesticides while facilitating control of the noxious weed.