The Board of Directors of the Friends of the Polly Ann Trail of Lapeer County do not support the aerial spraying for mosquitoes in Michigan for Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The Material Safety Data Sheet for the product that was sprayed in Lapeer County in 2019, Merus 3.0, says it is “toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates. Prevent from entering into drains and waterways. This product has not been tested for degradability in the environment.”

The Polly Ann Trail and most everywhere in our Great Lakes state have drains and waterways that are impacted by the blanket spraying of pesticides. The targeted mosquitoes are impacted as are non-targeted species, including predators to mosquitoes, such as frogs, dragonflies, fish and bats. After spraying, mosquitoes rebound more quickly than their predators, and may become immune to the spray, possibly causing a worse problem in coming seasons.

There is mounting evidence that insects are in overall sharp decline (As Insect Populations Decline, Scientists are Trying to Understand Why – Scientific American, 2018 and Why Insect Populations are Plummeting and Why it Matters-National Geographic, 2019). We need to become less reactive and more wise in our approach to challenges that arise, such as EEE. Insects are a vital part of the web of life, supporting fish and bird populations which are also in decline because as we all know, according to the most basic environmental understanding, it’s all connected.

We applaud the efforts of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to encourage horse owners and others to take preventive measures to protect animals and people from EEE, such as vaccination, overturning containers holding standing water and using other repellent methods to avoid mosquitoes.

This is an ongoing issue that requires a thoughtful informed approach, rather than last minute emergency actions that have lasting harmful effects. Thank you for your attention to this matter in our beautiful state.

—The Board of Directors of the Friends of the Polly Ann Trail of Lapeer County