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Towns limit use of pesticides, herbicides



KETCHUM, Idaho - Ketchum city officials have adopted a policy that sharply restricts the use of pesticides and herbicides in city-administered parks and other areas. It does not, however, restrict what people do on their own land.

The Idaho Mountain Express notes that the new policy doesn't flat-out prohibit all chemicals. Instead, it limits their use to "last resort" efforts. They can be used in just concentrated areas to control infestations, not broad swaths.

Children's playgrounds, however, have no exceptions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, studies suggest that children are more likely to have adverse reactions to pesticides because their internal organs are still developing.

According to National Public Radio, scientists report that children exposed before birth to a common class of pesticides can have lower IQ levels when they reach school age. One of the pesticides, chlorpyrifos, is now banned for household use in the United States, although it's still sprayed along roadways and on food crops.

In Revelstoke, B.C. municipal officials have also adopted a pesticide ban that sustainability coordinator Penny Page-Brittin describes as "strong." Unlike Ketchum's new law, for example, private applications are not exempted.

However, the ban does not restrict the Canadian-Pacific Railroad from spraying herbicide in its right-of-way through Revelstoke. And the golf course was exempted to the extent that anti-mold fungicides can be sprayed sparingly, notes the Rocky Mountain Outlook .


Beetles forsake one pine for another?

CANMORE, B.C. - It was a good-news, bad-news sort of week in the Banff-Canmore area.

The good news reported by the Rocky Mountain Outlook was that infestation of mountain pine beetles in local lodgepole pine forests has dropped dramatically, the first since evidence of an epidemic was noted about a decade ago. Scientists attributed sub-zero temperatures in the shoulder seasons of fall and spring, when beetles are most susceptible.

But now it seems pine beetles are infesting the Alberta's jack pine forests - the first step in a progression across Canada to Labrador. "This is the front line of what could be a national battle," said Duncan MacDonnell, spokesperson for Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.

The Outlook made no attempt to reconcile these two-handed stories of grim and grin.

More news of ice receding in Rockies

BANFF, Alberta - Again comes more news of the dwindling ice mass predicted in the glaciers clustered along the Continental Divide northwest of Banff.

One of the glaciers, named Pyeto, has lost 70 per cent of its volume in the last 100 years. Another, Bow Glacier, the headwaters for the river of the same name, could completely disappear in about 53 years. The glacial sources of the Athabasca River could disappear in 83 years.