Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Mosquito bites...

I try to stay out of politics.  My goal with this blog is to discuss nature and science, not to talk about politics, but every once in a while politics intrudes.  I just did a search of my archives and found that in the past I have written about politics only a couple of times on this blog.  In April 2013 (updated September 2013), I wrote about how a budget fight in the United States Congress resulted in the temporary limiting of access and services at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  Also in 2013, I wrote about a proposal by the City of Mt. Pleasant to build a dog park at Mission Creek Woodland Park - the proposal passed and 2 acres of woods were cleared to create the dog park.

Recently local politics has again intruded into my life.

The subject this time?


A mosquito on a Tall Agrimony (Agrimonia gryposepala) plant

In November, the Mt. Pleasant City Commission hosted a public meeting to decide whether to enter into a contract for mosquito control in 2016.  I was asked by a concerned citizen to attend the meeting and discuss the environmental impact of mosquito spraying.  I did some research before the meeting and ended up addressing the commission during the public comment session.  Despite my concerns and the stated concerns of several city residents, the commission decided in a 4-3 vote to pursue a mosquito control contract for the upcoming year.

Now, a new city commission has been sworn in and the new commission wants to revisit the subject.  Since this was announced, I have been called by a representative of the mosquito control company that was awarded the city contract, asked to attend a meeting with the new mayor of Mt. Pleasant to discuss the situation, and visited at the office by members of the public.  I have also been quoted (and misquoted) in the newspaper several times.

I do not oppose mosquito control measures in all situations.  I just do not think that spraying for mosquitoes in Mt. Pleasant is currently warranted.  I also believe that the environmental impacts of mosquito control currently outweigh the benefits in Mt. Pleasant.  If situations change, I could change my mind.  That is the beauty of using science to make informed decisions.  I can change my opinion based on new evidence.  I want our local elected officials to use that kind of reasoning.

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