April 12, 2017

Dear San Lorenzo Water District Board of Directors,

RE:  Brooms and Acacia Management Plan for the Olympia Watershed

As a member of the Environmental Committee I have participated in the discussions of the Invasive Brooms and Acacia Management Plan for the Olympia Wellfield.  I would like to summarize the reasons why I disagree with this plan.

The Water District “Watershed Management Plan” states that it will “Contribute to the control of herbicide and pesticide use in the greater San Lorenzo River watershed.” (EH 2 P 15 of part II). Further, in Policy WQ1-DL7 it aims to “reduce the maximum extent feasible, the introduction of herbicides, pesticides, and chemicals into the water supply by minimizing and controlling the use of these constituents, and implementing “alternative methods for pest control.”

In the SLV and North Coast Watershed Sanitary Survey of 2013, Kennedy/Jenks Consultants state “there is pervasive sensitivity to chemical use and general public sentiment opposed to such use.”

This Invasive Broom Plan calls for applying the herbicide Roundup/Glyphosate on over 19,000 plants within a 180-acre area.  That amount of herbicide doesn’t come close to not “minimizing its use,” nor is it being sensitive to the public opposition of such use.

It should also be noted that the Watershed Management Plan states that the “Olympia Watershed value as a groundwater source was the District’s sole reason for purchasing the property.” While other objectives for this property may be worthy, the top priority must be to maintain safe drinking water.

During the Environmental Committee meetings I have presented information relating to the dangers of using the herbicide Roundup. Much of this is new information. First, the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015 listed glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” That finding caused a number of reactions, some of which are: our neighbor to the north, the Marin Municipal Water District, voted unanimously to ban the use of glyphosate in its watershed; our neighbor to the south, the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, voted unanimously to prohibit glyphosate on its property; and, a California Superior Court Judge ruled against Monsanto, the producer of glyphosate, who must now label Roundup “as a possible carcinogen.”

In our Environmental Committee meetings it was stated that if Roundup is a risk factor to humans, that, in itself, would be the most important concern. Risk factor being exposure plus toxicity.

A recent EPA Glyphosate Issue Paper: Evolution of Carcinogenic Potential, stated that glyphosate is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” Yet, further back in that report it also states that “the data should be considered limited though with only one or two studies available for almost all the cancer types investigated, need for more recent studies since a large number of studies were conducted prior to 1996.” Since then Roundup use has increased greatly.

That EPA ruling is not without controversy and doubt is being raised about its accuracy. California congressman Ted Lieu is now calling for an investigation and Congressional hearings due to the highly suspicious relationship between EPA official, Jess Rowland, and Monsanto. A recently released letter from a 30-year EPA scientist concluded that it “is essentially certain that glyphosate causes cancer.’

There are now over 700 Roundup cancer claims. Lawsuits assert that multiple studies on Roundup and glyphosate have been ghost written in part, and/or, published by, Monsanto, to minimize the safety concerns about the use of glyphosate. This becomes a question of trust, not just science. Legal and political concerns should be part of this decision as well.

It is within the SLV Watershed Management Plan to minimize herbicide use, to look for safe alternatives and to seek new information. I believe that there is enough information to convince this board to avoid using glyphosate in the Olympia Watershed, or, to at least raise a reasonable doubt about its safety.

Water quality is far too important to jeopardize with an herbicide that raises this much doubt. Roundup should not be used in our watershed.  If this plan goes through it will undermine public confidence in the water it drinks.

Richard Moran

Ben Lomond, CA


Save Our Shores

345 Lake Ave # A,

Santa Cruz, CA 95062


Sierra Club, Santa Cruz

Box 604

Santa Cruz, CA 95061-0604

Coastal Watershed Council - San Lorenzo River

345 Lake Avenue, Suite F

Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Assemblymember, Mark Stone

Representative, Anna Eshoo

John Laird, California Natural Resources Agency

(4) comments

All About Water Filters

Since herbicide is a chemical to kill weeds, I don't think it is a good way to clean the waters. Yes, we might be killing the parasites and the bacteria in the water but what about the chemicals? wouldn't it be more dangerous to drink poisonous chemicals.

Please check us out online:

Bill Smallman

The people preaching environmental protection, whether it be from the Land Trust, the County, et.al. have gone into the deep end of lunacy. You are talking about an area close to to where huge loaders and excavators tore away hundreds of thousands of tons of sand for years. Did that wipe out the June Beetle, Winged Grasshopper and a host of other bugs from this diverse, extremely sensitive, one of a kind habitat? Now we are worried about pulling Scotch Broom to the extent we want to spray this toxic crap in our watershed? These areas are perfect to build additional water storage reservoirs to restore the groundwater basin. Yep, go ahead and follow these lunatics over the cliff like lemmings. It's time to start using our common sense, form an army to pull these plants, pile em up in the middle of the quarry. and have a bonfire party and howl to the moon.


Where are all the comments on this, and why can't I see them?


Thank you Mr. Smallman for weighing in on this problem! We're not following the lemmings over this cliff. It is good to hear from you about this. We don't want a carcinogen applied to our very own watershed. The job of the waterboard is to supply us rate payers with clean safe water. Doing nothing would be a better option. I'm for protecting endangered species but this is a catch 22.

It is too bad that the Water Department has turned the Environmental Committee meeting into a Board meeting on May 3rd. That makes it harder for working people to attend. I'm sure they know this. But I bet anyone making money off of habitat restoration will be showing up to say how much they love the idea of applying Roundup to our Watershed. Of those drinking from the trough, how many live in the San Lorenzo Valley watershed? They should have to identify themselves.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.