Question: A Kansan reader who likes to fish along Sand Creek reported he had seen some dead grass alongside the waterway. He wondered if the grass had been sprayed with herbicides and if there were safety precautions to make sure the chemicals don't get in the water where people are fishing.

City response: According to Newton's Park Superintendent Burke Lewis, state law requires city staff to control noxious weeds, and their contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also requires them to kill vegetation in the rocks along the creek banks to control woody growth (i.e. trees). To accomplish this, they use an aquatic herbicide that is labeled for in-water use.

"The product we use is listed by the federal government (EPA) as harmless to aquatic life," Lewis said. "We know from organic chemistry that the active ingredient is nullified upon contact with clay particles, and Sand Creek’s murky water is full of clay particles."

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