by Kevin Taylor & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & L & lt;/span & ast weekend, roughly two dozen Bonner County residents gathered in canoes and kayaks at Denton Slough, a waterfowl sanctuary near Clark Fork, Idaho, and attempted to pull out Eurasian milfoil by hand. Ironically, yanking the aggressive weed from the surface is a good way to spread it, but the activists, who oppose the use of the milfoil herbicide 2,4-D, say they found very little of the invasive weed among more common aquatic plants.

A local diver who spent two hours snorkeling the slough Saturday reported finding only three Eurasian milfoil plants, and another small grouping was found near shore, says Jane Fritz, a community activist who opposes use of the herbicide in the slough.

Leslie Marshall, co-director of Bonner County Public Works and architect of the weed-removal efforts, says she stopped by the 400-acre slough Saturday. The diver and boaters concentrated on the eastern side, she says, while a Tuesday recheck of the milfoil shows it lies mostly to the west.

"Because of them having such heartburn over it, I said we'd go back and recheck," Marshall says. The slough is badly enough infested, she says, that 2,4-D application begins today (Aug. 3).

George Hart, environmental coordinator for the Corps of Engineers, says the federal agency had been working on a five-year milfoil control plan with Bonner County using chemicals other than 2,4-D, which, he says, is considered harmful to endangered species such as bull trout by other federal agencies.

"Sometime between last year and this year, the county decided to use 2,4-D," and didn't tell the Corps, Hart says. He says the Corps is powerless to stop the county from using 2,4-D on the county-owned 300 acres of Denton Slough.

Elsewhere, the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, via an Idaho Department of Agriculture milfoil eradication grant similar to Bonner County's, will begin using 2,4-D next week on an estimated 300 acres where mats of milfoil are most dense in Round and Chatcolet lakes at the southern end of Lake Coeur d'Alene.

Rally for the Primary @ Downtown Spokane Library

Wed., Feb. 19, 4-7 p.m.
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