Dec 26, 2016

Pesticides & Maine Lobsters. State's Dec 2016 report shows 9 coastal towns with anti-tick chem in flats

How do we keep Maine's coastal waters  as pesticide-free as possible, for the good of our oysters, lobsters, their predators and their prey that live in and breathe those waters? 

According to a pair of Maine Board of Pesticides Control reports from  2015   and 2016 , with the exception of 9 towns coastwide, our coastal waters and sediments are relatively pesticide free. Or at least at non-detection levels. 

 The 12/16/16 16 report noted "There were no detections in sediments collected from sites previously identified as juvenile lobster habitat or adjacent to lobster habitat."  

Locations with Reportable Levels (RLs) of pesticide Bifenthrin (RL= 0.045 ppb) * 
Blue Hill           0.26 ppb Bifenthrin  
Camden           0.060 ppb Bifenthrin
Boothbay Hbr  0.26 ppb Bifenthrin 
Bath                 0.054 ppb Bifenthrin
Bath                 0.066 ppb Bifenthrin (dup)
Yarmouth         0.56ppb Bifenthrin
Portland           0.32ppb Bifenthrin 
So Portland     1.0ppb Bifenthrin
Biddeford         0.76ppb  Bifenthrin    Biddeford 5.0 ppb  Cypermethrin
Kittery              0.088ppb  Bifenthrin 

*RL  is the lowest concentration at which a chemical can be detected in a sample, and its concentration reported with accuracy.

Here's the timeline since this sampling/testing initiative began in 2014.
February 5, 2014  Legislation LD 1678. An Act to Protect Maine's Lobster Fishery introduced 2/5/14 by Representative Walter Kumiega, Deer Isle, before the  Maine Legislature's Agriculture and Conservation Committee. The bill would prohibit the use of pesticides methoprene or resmethrin  "in any body of water that drains into the Gulf of Maine or on land from which runoff could enter into any such waterway."  

February 6, 2014.  Maine Pesticide Control Board head Henry Jennings  testified against the bill (23 second excerpt) (Listen to Jennings'  full 40 minute Q&A with legislators)   He said impetus for the bill came from what he called the flawed study of the Long Island Sound lobster disaster the ID'd  heavy use of  methoprene and resmethrin in land around the Sound as a key reason. Alternative reasons for the Lobstercaust? He shrugged.

February 21, 2014   (1Ag & Conservation Committee voted 2/21/14 Ought Not To Pass on LD1678. killing it.
(2)  BPC chief Jennings agreed to organize a coastal Maine sediment & stormwater pesticide sampling project. However, he  said that the call for pesticide sediment and water testing is so small that local chemical labs don't do it. (Later he chooses  Montana State Analytical Laboratory and the Southwest Research Institute (Texas) to do the sample testing)
March 18, 2014  Legislature writes to BPC's Jennings requesting an interim report by January 2015  and a final report by 2017.

April 18, 2014  BPC holds a  presentation on  testing sediments for pesticides.
See  meeting minutes    Jennings' slide show at the meeting  

January 10, 2015 BPC releases an  "interim" report  on their first round of testing. 
See test results here  In Penobscot Bay,  BPC  water quality specialist. Mary Tomlinson sampled the northwest flats of Rockland Harbor, Laite Beach in Camden, and boat launches in Belfast and Blue Hill. The BPC collected samples between August 27 and September 10, 2014 and shipped to them to  the two contract laboratories. Montana Analytical Laboratory and  Southwest Research Institute.  

December 16, 2016 report This final report is limited to the Casco Bay  and Saco area;  BPC said Penobscot Bay and elsewhere on Maine coast, have  mostly very small to zero levels of pesticides. So the 22016 study dofused on Portland and Saco In fact the report states: "There were no detections in sediments collected from sites previously identified as juvenile lobster habitat or adjacent to lobster habitat."

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