The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Islanders surprised by dike spraying


A group of Puget Island residents visited the Wahkiakum County Board of Commissioners July 18 to ask if it was a county crew that was spraying blackberries and brush alongside Island roads.

The spraying occurred about six weeks ago, and now dry and brown vines and leaves border the dike roads.

Commissioners in turn asked county Public Works Director Chuck Beyer what he knew about the spraying.

"That wasn't us," he said. "It was the diking district."

Indeed Consolidated Diking District No. 1 had contracted with a Cowlitz County firm to spray vegetation along the dikes.

Diking Commissioner Tony Aegerter said this week that the US Army Corps of Engineers has been pressuring the district to increase maintenance of dike slopes, including clearing brush off the slopes of dikes. The district has easements to conduct activities at least to the toe of the dikes, he said.

Aergerter said the contractor was supposed to observe the county's list of people who have gone on record with the Public Works Department saying they didn't want spray on the roadsides along their property.

However, applications in no-spray zones apparently occurred.

'"Both my properties on Little Island were sprayed," Dick McDonald said. "I've been on the no-spray list for the last five years."

West Birnie Slough Road resident Rob Stockhouse said some of the spray reached 21 feet into his two properties. It hit blackberries he had planned to pick and damaged bird habitat.

"There was a lack of official notice that this would happen," he said. "Also, it's just a fire waiting to happen."

The county commission has invited the diking commission to its August 1 meeting to talk about spraying; that's on the agenda for 10 a.m.


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