Earth Day protest leads to Roundup® accord

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Editor's note: This article was updated April 26 at 9:13 a.m. to include additional information.
Ojai Valley News photo by Andra Belknap
Faeth Mulqueen (left) and Clare Andre stage a protest April 21, during Ojai's Earth Day celebration.
Andra Belknap, Ojai Valley News reporter
A group of protestors attended the Earth Day festivities in Libbey Park April 21 to publicly object to the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy's (OVLC) use of a glyphosate-based herbicide to rid the San Antonio Creek of arundo, an invasive plant that looks similar to bamboo.
“In September of 2017, I went to drop my 3-year-old daughter off at her nature-based school at Camp Comfort,” said Rebecca Tickell, the organizer of the protest. “When I arrived, there was a strange smell in the air and several men with blue dye on their bare hands wearing chemical-spraying backpacks. They had just sprayed (herbicide) near the playground and along the waterbed.”
The herbicide is known commercially as Roundup Custom or Aquamaster, said OVLC Executive Director Brian Stark, who added that the chemical is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in and around water.
According to a U.S. Forest Service guide for managing arundo, blue dye is used as an indicator during herbicide treatments and allows the technician to see the treatment on the arundo plant.

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