SRC Commissioners ask FDOT to stop using chemical defoliants

Posted on May 30, 2018 by Romi White

Santa Rosa County Commission Chairman Bob Cole during the May 24 Commission meeting received approval to send a letter to the Florida Department of Transportation, asking the state agency to stop using a chemical defoliant sprays along roadways in the county. 

“It looks terrible,” Cole said, stating manual clearing of vegetative growth in the right of ways doesn’t look as unsightly as the brown.

Cole sought advice from fellow commissioner Rob Williamson, who owns a landscaping company and explained that “it’s a lot more expensive” to manually clear vegetation.

“I’ve seen what you’re talking about with the dead foliage, especially along the easement areas,” Williamson said. “They’re going to have to do something to keep those right of ways cleared…maybe they can try to provide some alternative solution.”

Cole also said he has been contacted by citizens who expressed a fear of using the walkways after the spray was administered and asked how much of the chemicals are getting into the water supply.

“I’m sure FDOT covered all that, but the general public still has questions,” Cole said.

According to FDOT Public Information Specialist Tanya Branton, two herbicides are used on a “spot application” basis. 

“The two herbicides that are utilized in roadside vegetation maintenance are Garlon and Roundup,” Branton said. “The Department does not broadcast.  Our herbicide use is used to control invasive species such as Congon grass and Tropical Soda Apple and is limited to sidewalk, curb and gutter areas, concrete ditches, and asphalt under guardrail.”