Below is a guest editorial from Kevin McAllister, founding President of Defend H2O
Methoprene (trade name Altocid) is classified as an insect growth regulator, as defined by its mechanism of action. Methoprene interferes with maturation and reproduction in insects by mimicking the activity of the insect’s juvenile hormone, which controls the growth of insect larvae.
When ingested or absorbed through the exoskeleton, methoprene causes developmental abnormality, reducing survival. In basic terms, it artificially stunts the insects’ growth, making it impossible for it to mature into an adult.
Insects and crustaceans (shrimps, lobsters, crabs) are physiologically similar organisms, as they both belong to the larger group Arthropoda. Consequently, non-target aquatic insects and crustaceans inhabiting salt marshes are susceptible to chemical effects of methoprene. Methoprene is also sprayed on freshwater marshes, and is toxic to frogs, toads, and salamanders.
Suffolk County’s Department of Public Works (DPW), through the implementation of its Annual Plan of Work regularly broadcast-sprays methoprene in salt marshes by helicopter on over 15,000 to 30,000 acres annually, or 23 to 46 square miles! While the county claims the goal is to reduce pesticide spraying, the acreage of methoprene-treated marshland actually increased by 25% from 2017 to 2018. Suffolk County must at last end its practice of spraying methoprene on our wetlands.
By all reason, Suffolk County needs to join Connecticut, Rhode Island, NYC and USFWS and rely exclusively on Bti to avoid collateral damage to marsh ecology. It boggles the mind that the county continues to stubbornly cling to this destructive practice of spraying methoprene when other jurisdictions are banning it, and when a safer alternative is available.
Our coastal waters are under extreme duress, largely because of past failures to acknowledge the threats and adopt protective measures. Suffolk County once led the nation by instituting a voluntary suspension of DDT use in 1967. Fifty years later, we’re calling on Suffolk County to demonstrate similar resolve. Eliminate methoprene from the 2019 Annual Plan of Work.
The County Legislature will vote on this, first on 11/16 at 2pm by the Legislature’s DPW Committee, then on 11/20 by the full Legislature. Both votes will take place in The Legislative Auditorium, located at 725 Veterans Memorial Highway, Smithtown.
Kevin McAllister, founding president of Defend H2O holds undergraduates degrees in Natural Resources Conservation and Marine Biology, with a Masters of Science in Coastal Zone Management. With over 30 years of professional experience in environmental protection, Kevin has identified the aerial spraying of methoprene as a significant threat to marsh ecology.
Editors note: The images below were taken May 18th, 2018 over the environmentally sensitive marshland at the mouth of Carmans River in Brookhaven. This same chopper spent the entire day spraying methoprene over marshes from Brookhaven to Moriches Inlet. As you can see in the photo below, an Osprey and nest is directly under the spray.
Watch the video below for more information: