Portland-based Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is opposing the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to allow spraying of toxic chemicals at a Bandon-area federal wildlife refuge to kill mosquitos.

Bandon, which has become a tourist haven for its world-class golf courses, has been plagued by an upsurge of mosquitos traced to the Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service project leader Roy Lowe declared an emergency Aug 26 and issued a special-use permit to the Coos County Public Health Department to conduct mosquito abatement on refuge lands. That will allow the county to spray Dibrom and MetaLarv S-PT on wildlife refuge lands.

The current plan, Xerces says, is to spray more than 10,000 acres of marshland and forests around Bandon, including residential and recreational areas.

Scott Hoffman Black, Xerces executive director, criticized the federal agency’s decision, noting there has been no threat to human health or any threats to wildlife.

“By declaring an emergency, even though there are no health issues, the USFWS is moving forward without proper environmental review,” Black says. “In doing so, they are breaking several laws, including the National Environmental Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act.”

Xerces says Dibrom is highly toxic to humans as well as a wide range of wildlife, and that MetaLarv is highly toxic to aquatic invertebrates like dragonfly nymphs, beetles, mayflies and other species.

“There is apparently no effort to target mosquito-producing hotspots within the refuge and no attempt to use least-toxic chemicals,” says Celeste Mazzacano, Xerces aquatic conservation director.

Here is the Sept. 3 letter Xerces wrote to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: pdf.>

Steve Law can be reached at 503-546-5139 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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