Letters to the Editor

Do we want to give away our marine community so cheaply?

I am responding to Donald Hendrix’s letter written in response to Janet Alderson’s about nearshore buffers and pyrethroids.

In work done in Friday Harbor, some of the principles stated by Mr. Hendrix would work in the opposite direction than he suggests. For example, surfactants bind to organic particles in a way similar to that stated by Mr. Hendrix for pyrethroids. But rather than disperse, as he suggests, they settle to the bottom of the harbor and form a concentrated, toxic, mud layer.

If this is true for the relatively innocuous surfactant (detergent), it must be doubly true for something that is designed to kill animals similar in vulnerability to the marine community.

I think Ms. Alderson used pyrethroids as a “for instance.” When I seek to remove moss from my roof, I find that one of the products available locally says on the label “kills fish.” If I spray my roses, both surfactants and pyrethroids go into the runoff. Fertilizer is a similar problem.

Car drippings, wash products for car, windows, siding, front porch, sidewalk, all go into the ground water and, if not allowed enough buffer, will ease into the nearshore and do serious damage.

I find Mr. Hendrix’s suggestion that we come up with peer-reviewed articles that refute his specific concerns (the general concerns are met with Best Available Science) a double bind. First, it puts the onus on those that would protect common property to prove our point. Washington has the precautionary principle as state resource policy: In ambiguous situations, the benefit of doubt falls to the resource. Second, the very research that he would have us do is the first thing that is eliminated in our county when there is a pinch.

And all this is when we all follow the rules. There are those folks that don’t. Do we want to give away our marine community so cheaply?

Sandra Harold
Friday Harbor

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