In a July 18 press release, Pope Resources officials announced that the group would only be conducting targeted application of herbicides to control weeds on its timber holdings in Kitsap County, using manual application methods instead of spraying the controversial weedkiller glyphosate from a helicopter.
Adrian Miller, a spokesperson for Pope Resources, stated that the group would also not be employing the use of glyphosate in any of its weed management operations throughout Kitsap.
“As is our practice, we evaluate each harvested area on a case-by-case basis. We will not automatically spray an area for weed control,” he said. “We are aware of the concerns of aerial application in more densely populated areas and will be enlisting the help of backpack crews to carefully apply herbicide in targeted areas. These applications are necessary to remove unsafe weeds from overtaking the growth of new trees.”
Miller also added that following evaluations of Pope’s Kitsap operations, glyphosate was not determined to be necessary to accomplish their goals.
“Our decision on what chemicals we use and the types of application we use, with respect to herbicides, have been and will continue to be governed by the specific location of the site as well as the site conditions,” Miller explained. “We have always had a wide range of different types of tools that we can use to accomplish our silvicultural objectives.”
Last summer the group Kitsap Environmental Coalition formed in response to Pope’s stated intent to spray glyphosate on more than 400 acres of the group’s holdings in Hansville. Despite the dogged opposition from KEC, Miller said the decision was influenced more by the site conditions, nearby population density and concern expressed by neighbors.
“This is not a signal that activist groups can raise their hands up and automatically change our practices, but it’s a recognition of our immediate neighbors’ concerns as well as the site conditions.”
Miller stated that the group would not conduct aerial application of glyphosate in Kitsap County this year, but also noted that the Pope Resources still plans to use the chemical in the future where appropriate.
“With respect to glyphosate, a lot of organizations are looking at that chemical closely,” Miller said, noting the recent formation of an herbicide workgroup, established through the recent passage of Senate Bill 5597. The group will provide a forum to review the regulations for aerial application of herbicides in forestry applications.
“This work group is focused on aerial application in private forest lands,” he said.
“We think this is a great place to have this conversation … it’s a great next step in the public discourse both locally and statewide.”