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June 16. 2013 7:49PM

Derry considers new weapons in war on noxious weeds

DERRY — Drive down Island Pond Road in Derry and chances are good you will see Japanese knotweed or other invasive plant species choking the roadway.

As the Conservation Commission has made efforts to remove these invasive species from town conservation properties, most noticeably the Shepard property, it has also turned its sights to ways to contain them town-wide.

Commission member James Arruda has been gathering information about whether someone in town can get licensed to apply pesticides along town roadways to help eradicate the knot weed and other problem species.

He said there is a testing and licensing process that would allow someone to apply pesticides.

"My first thought is that it would be wise to have someone who is a town employee be licensed," said Arruda. "It does not appear to be a major stumbling block to get a license. It's when do we get it and who gets it."

Arruda said the commission should discuss the possibility with Mike Fowler, the director of Public Works. He said he's also contacted town IT Director Doug Rathburn about getting a large map of the town so the commission can begin plotting the areas most affected by invasive plant species.

"Obviously, what caught my eye this year is Japanese knotweed, but I think whatever we decide to do on this issue would be applicable to other invasives," said Arruda. "As far as plotting these sites and discussing how we should attack this stuff, I don't have any illusions of grandeur that we're going to eradicate Japanese knotweed. I think that the best we are going to be able to do is control it when we get rolling."

Educating people about how to deal with invasives is also important, Arruda said.

"People shouldn't cut it with a rotary lawnmower," he said. "All they are doing is spreading it."

Commission member Paul Dionne said he is also checking into an organic product from Canada that can be used to eradicate the knotweed without the need for a pesticide application license.

"As far as the town goes, I wonder how much they will be able to commit to this with the current financial restraints they are facing," said Dionne.

Commission Chairman Margaret Ives said they should find out how much the organic product costs as well as talk to Fowler about public works commitment to controlling the invasive species.

"I think that will guide us in what we can offer for help," said Ives.
aswift@newstote.com


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