Readers Respond: Herbicides Needed to Restore Green Spaces

Having worked on the protection, restoration and management of urban green spaces for fifty years, I feel compelled to respond to the “zero tolerance” for herbicide use that has dominated articles and letters in recent weeks. (“Contrary to the green image, Portland continues to use Roundup weedkiller in parks,” August 7)

Conservation advocates have rightly denounced the abuse and misuse of herbicides.

However, large-scale restoration efforts would be impossible without the judicious and targeted use of herbicides. The 160 acres Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, where I first entered the urban green space arena in the early 1970s, benefited immensely from the combined physical labor and chemical treatment of Himalayan blackberry and English ivy. Using volunteers alone is not a viable alternative in such a large and precarious landscape.

I helped lead efforts to rid the area of ​​invasive species in the early 1980’s. We didn’t bump the blackberry tsunami that had obliterated the loop trail. It was the city’s “revegetation” program, which used professional crews with chainsaws and other equipment as well as the selective use of herbicides, that virtually eliminated blackberry walls and carpets. of English ivy. Long-term management will require the same treatment to prevent recolonization of invasive species.

Mike Houck, Portland

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