Vol. I No. 01 8/6/2020
Where is the Milfoil?
At the 2018 Stockbridge Bowl Association (SBA) meeting, President Richard Seltzer, assured the attendees that at the same time SBA submits its Notice of Intent (to use herbicides in the lake), SBA will prepare an adversarial document. That is, if SBA does not like the decision of the Stockbridge Conservation Commission, Health Department, or Select Board, it will sue to override that decision.
"And." Seltzer said, "SBA will win."
SBA was certain in its conviction that Stockbridge Bowl must be rid of Eurasian Watermilfoil (an invasive aquatic weed). Seltzer introduced a representative from SOLitude, the lake management company contracted by SBA.
SOLitude explained the Bowl was overrun with Eurasian Milfoil. SOLitude recommended an herbicide called fluridone as the most cost-effective method to rid Stockbridge Bowl of Eurasian Milfoil. To have its way, SBA was prepared for a pitched battle with Stockbridge – even in the courts.
Two years later, Thomas W. Coote, PhD, the Director of the Berkshire Environmental Research Center at Bard College at Simon's Rock, was hired to catalog Eurasian Watermilfoil by the Town for the Harvesting program. His conclusion? He could find only one stand of Eurasian Milfoil in the main body of Stockbridge Bowl and a number of individual plants but no stands in the Outlet. All of the contentious meetings, ill will, bad press, and huge legal expenses, all could have been avoided with simple cooperation and more accurate information from folks who did not have an economic interest. What now?
Editor's note: To assure there is no confusion, the penultimate sentence refers to experts who when hired to render opinions, should have no economic interest in the outcome of those opinions.