The city of Lakeland will continue limited spraying to control invasive plants in lakes even as a temporary moratorium halts the bulk of herbicide use in Lakeland lakes, city commissioners were told this morning.
“We’re concerned that while they (invasive plants) are not being managed, as soon as it gets a little warmer and growing season starts, they’re going to multiply like crazy,” Lakes & Stormwater Manager Laurie Smith said during a commission agenda preview meeting.
Commissioner Phillip Walker had asked her how the city’s lakes would be affected by a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission temporary halt on herbicide spraying as it takes comments on the use of using weed-killers such as Roundup.
Most of the spraying in Lakeland’s lakes is done by Polk County under contract with FWC and will stop during the moratorium that’s expected to last two months, she explained.
City crews will continue removing plants that block places where stormwater enters lakes, Smith said. And they will also make sure healthy lake vegetation doesn’t become overgrown.
Commissioner Scott Franklin cautioned against the use of herbicides using glyphosate, a key ingredient in Roundup. As an insurance professional, he said, he is seeing insurers “getting away from anybody who touches Roundup, retailers are pulling it from the shelves” as lawsuits against Monsanto, Roundup’s manufacturer, proliferate.
“We need to figure out a plan to stop using it,” Franklin said. “It has the potential to be another asbestos.”
Smith replied that city staffers use protective equipment when using herbicides and refrains from spraying on windy days.
Click the play arrow to view and hear this morning’s discussion: