Letter to the Editor, Bandon Western World

September 10, 2013

Amy Moss-Strong
Managing Editor
Bandon Western World newspaper
1185 Baltimore Ave., S.E.
Bandon, OR 97411

Dear Ms. Moss-Strong,

Re. Calling a halt to Bandon Marsh spraying plan

Bandon residents packed a town hall meeting Monday evening to speak out against Coos County’s plan to spray Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge to control mosquitoes. Over two-thirds of the residents who were given the chance to speak during the meeting expressed their opposition to the plan.

Beside the public sentiment, this large-scale application of a highly toxic organophosphate nerve agent to more than 10,000 acres will likely not alleviate the mosquito problem—fall will knock back the mosquitos anyway. In addition, the insecticide will harm wildlife and the Refuge is breaking the law by declaring an emergency (and avoiding compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act) when there are no public health issues.

There are options that would be better for mosquito control and better for the environment. In our recent report, Ecologically Sound Mosquito Management in Wetlands, we used the tenets of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and developed a comprehensive guide to managing mosquitos by reviewing over 400 scientific papers and looking at where municipalities had successful programs. The CDC says that education, personal protection, and scouting for mosquito hotspots (and then using the least toxic product) is more effective than broad-scale pesticide use. Yet Coos County and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service insist on moving forward with broad-scale pesticide use.

The plan to spray Bandon Marsh is opposed by the majority of the local citizens it is intended to help, will not be effective at controlling mosquitos, will harm wildlife, and is likely illegal.

It is now time for the county and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take a step back, call off the aerial spraying, and develop a better targeted—and legal—control program that is less harmful to Bandon Marsh and the residents of Bandon.


Celeste Mazzacano, Ph.D., Aquatic Conservation Director
Scott Hoffman Black, Executive Director