Residents oppose Camp Pontiac weed-kill plan
Diane Valden is reporting in the Columbia Paper Camp Pontiac in West Copake, has submitted an application to the state Department of Environmental Conservation to use herbicides to kill weeds in Lower Rhoda Pond, but neighbors who share the pond think it’s a bad idea. The camp wants to remove what it calls "nuisance aquatic vegetation" that hinders the use of the pond for swimming, boating or fishing. The camp said all attempts at other forms of management have failed, and the proposal is to apply herbicides and algaecides from May through August in an effort to clean up the pond. A letter to landowners around Lower Rhoda said the exact dates of application are still unknown. One of the products the camp proposes to use would require a 24-hour ban on swimming and bathing and fishing for consumption. And using the water for irrigation or spraying or domestic purposes is not permitted for seven days after application. Camp neighbors have mounted an effort to oppose the camp application, sending letters to the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Bureau of Pesticides citing studies of the effects of the chemicals proposed for use. The Ancram Town Board in March submitted a letter to the DEC calling for a public hearing on the matter. A DEC spokesman said this week the department is in the early stages of evaluating Camp Pontiac’s application and said no public hearing is planned. He said the Department of Fisheries and the County Health Department will also weigh in on the proposal. Camp Pontiac, located on County Route 7, is a sleep-away summer camp that accommodates 550 campers, ages 6 to 17. The camp owns approximately seven acres of the 60-acre Lower Rhoda Pond, which spans the Copake/Ancram town line. Read the full story in the Columbia Paper.