Thursday, April 15, 2010

Racism and Invasive species go hand in hand?

"Moby Dick Hotel manager Keith Stravrum had said Monday that the hotel, which is owned by Felice "Fritzi" Cohen, will be sold to Aryan Nations unless Pacific County backs down from a demand that Cohen kill the spartina grass on her property."

Wait, what? Really?

Yes. Really.

Keith Stravrum is also an oyster grower. I don't know for sure, but I bet you a million pesos that he grows non-native oysters. Why do I think this? Because imported oysters, unlike the native variety, actually like spartina grass. In fact, all the other oystermen (the ones actually trying to grow native oysters) are very supportive of spraying spartina grass.

OPB's excellent documentary "The Silent Invasion" talks about the politics surrounding this weed. One of the people they interviewed is some dude down in California (the video won't play for me and I can't remember his name) who is also against controlling spartina grass. Guess what? He grows non-native oysters that thrive in the grass-choked habitat. What's even worse is that he bills his oysters as "organic" and sells them for top dollar. The hypocrisy and greed required to bank off the "organic" label while ruining the environment for everyone else is astounding.

I'm going to take a deep breath and link to Stravrum's blog, though I feel dirty doing so.

I know probably better than most people on the planet that the public has an automatically negative view of pesticides. I don't think this is a bad thing. I think we always need to take care before pumping chemicals into our environment, and if we do, it had better have benefits. But if you went by the information on that blog, the county is spraying something deadly, that bioaccumulates in the oysters, and that spartina grass isn't that bad for the environment, anyway.

The blog even claims that spartina grass should be allowed to take over the west coast because it sequesters CO2 and "filters the water".

Because no NATIVE plants do the same job, I guess?

It's pure misinformation. I might even call it lies.

Amazapyr (aka imazapyr), according to the Pesticide Manual (Tomlin 2006) (and many other sources), is very low in toxicity to all animals, birds and insects, including fish and aquatic insects. It is non-carcinogenic and does not bioaccumulate. It's half-life in water is 7 days, so it breaks down fairly quickly. And it's highly effective against spartina. This is like the wonder chemical for this particular job. People should be cheering the county for using this product (and to be fair, it seems like most people are).

It doesn't surprise me that people who exhibit such ignorance and greed would help bring a racism club into their own community. But, after my initial outrage, I really can't bring myself to be that concerned about their whine-baby threat.

The Aryan Nation is a dying group. They couldn't even hang on to their compound in freakin' Idaho. I doubt they're going to do well in progressive western Oregon.

There are worse things that could happen. It could be Sarah Palin moving in.

(Oregon oyster habitat that's NOT choked with spartina grass)

1 comment:

Retrieverman said...

The Aryan people might have a dying organization, but people who think like them are coming back.

Scary stuff!