The last two weeks have been busy in Parksville Qualicum Beach. A permit to spray the herbicide ‘Habitat’ along the east coast of Vancouver Island from Courtney to Bowser begins on July 6 and continues until May 31, 2019; 484 Canada geese were whacked in Parksville; and a new “marine outfall” was installed on June 30 to facilitate the dumping of human sewage into the Salish Sea. These three events are related.
The herbicide “Habitat’ is called ‘Habitat’ because its chemical name is too tongue twisting for most to want to repeat. It’s for the control of undesirable vegetation growing within specified aquatic sites and non-irrigation ditch-banks, and this product is toxic to all vascular plants including aquatic eelgrasses. On the one hand, we are trying to restore and conserve eel grass communities to support healthy shellfish and salmon habitat, but on the other hand we will spray the herbicide Habitat to destroy aquatic cordgrasses knowing full well this herbicide is non-selective and will kill any aquatic vascular plant without discretion.
We can do better by addressing the real issue that changes nutrient availability, aquatic vascular plant distribution and habitat for ocean and estuary life. The real issue is that we continue to dump tonnes of noxious waste into the ocean using laws that support this, and although we know better we continue to poison our rivers, estuaries and ecosystems. We need to treat water with respect and reduce dumping human sewage and pesticide residues into our estuaries and oceans to restore healthy ecosystems for our children, our grandchildren and ourselves. The very aquatic vascular plants we seek to destroy with ‘Habitat’ will gladly filter toxins for us, and there is strong scientific evidence to support this claim. We would be wiser to invest in proper sewage systems to address the problem of “invasive aquatic plants” than to spray pesticides on the estuaries of Vancouver Island.