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Protect Our Water Resources




The State's plan to treat Lake Cochituate with poisons threatens our health and environment.

• Natick's drinking water comes primarily from wells supplied through the Lake Cochituate area aquifer.

• State officials planned to put poisons in Lake Cochituate to control the invasive milfoil plant. The State plan was stopped when local citizens appealed and presented the health threats.

• The State pulled out of the process and is now asking Natick’s Conservation Commission to approve a new plan, which will again primarily rely on toxic chemicals to control the milfoil.

• The State admits that its approach is only short term and will need herbicides reapplied on a regular basis.

• These chemical herbicides are registered poisons. It is against the law to claim they are "safe"; or "EPA-approved", even when "used as directed." *, **

• Concerned citizens are determined to replace the misguided toxic plans with a comprehensive plan which ensures the health and safety of our tap water and Lake.

• There are safer alternatives such as harvesting, pulling, matting, suctioning, draw downs, biological controls, and more, which do not pose the risks of treating the lake water with poisons.

• "In many situations, there may be non-chemical methods to control pests. EPA recommends considering and using these methods as part of an overall pest management strategy, often called Integrated Pest Management."***

• In one study, it was shown that the use of chemicals was found to be more than two times as expensive as natural weed control over a five year period.***

Please find out more about this issue.
For more info: Protect Our Water Resources
On the web at
(508) 653-8228

* U.S. EPA Website
** 333 CMR 13.03 Massachusetts Pesticide Regulations
*** U.S. EPA Website
**** U.S. EPA Lake and Reservoir Restoration Guidance Manual (EPA-440-90-006)

Lake Cochituate
Natick's Valued Water Resource


* In 2002, a non-native invasive species of weed called Milfoil was discovered in Lake Cochituate by the Department of Environmental Management. The DEM hired Aquatic Control Technology, Inc. (ACT) to develop a Lake Management Plan.

* In 2003, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) requested permission from the Natick Conservation Commission (NCC) to apply the herbicides diquat and endothall in Lake Cochituate based on the plan developed by ACT. The NCC issued conditional approval for the herbicides to be used on Lake Cochituate.

* Local concerned citizens of Natick appealed to the MA Department of Environmental Protection, DEP. The Town of Natick drinking water supply is drawn at a rate of over 1 million gallons per day from the Springvale wells located in Natick on the South Pond and the Evergreen wells located on the Middle Pond of Lake Cochituate. It is uncertain what effect the use of the herbicides, diquat and endothall, would have on the children and families of Natick.

* The DEP decision favored the plan to apply herbicides.

* In 2004, a second appeal was filed to the DEP for a hearing with the Division of Administrative Law Appeals.

* A hearing date was set for June 2005. However, after concerned citizens presented expert testimony regarding the risks of the stateís plan, the DCR withdrew from the appeal. The DCR announces that it will start the process over with a new Notice of Intent to be submitted to the Natick Conservation Commission for the use of a different herbicide, Sonar (fluridone).

* While under appeal, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, DCR, can not apply herbicides. But the DCR can use alternate and effective methods for controlling the spread of milfoil in the lake by other methods of weed control that are immediately available. The DCR Plan recommends these methods only for the North and Middle Ponds. There is no alternative plan for the South Pond where the greatest density of milfoil exists.

* Milfoil is a non-native and invasive species of aquatic weed that grows primarily along the shallow lake edges. There is currently no known method to completely eradicate milfoil weed. There are, however, several methods available to control the spread of milfoil. Hand weeding, suction and mechanical harvesting, benthic barriers, draw down techniques are natural alternatives to herbicides. Additionally, preventative practices of placing nets in the lake and boater awareness can help to prevent the fragmentation and propagation of milfoil.

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