On July 16, the Coos County Vector Assessment and Control Advisory Committee held its regular monthly meeting on the Ni-les’tun Unit overlook at the Bandon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, which is the small wooden platform with a plaque dedicated to longtime Oregon Congressman, Peter DeFazio.
At the meeting the chair of the committee, Roger Straus, announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had their biologist regularly apply BTI larvacide to the marsh and that it is currently free of mosquitoes. However, he also admitted that there has been a severe fly-off off the refuge on property located further into the Coquille Valley near Prosper Road over to Randall Road on state Highway 42S.
The service is blaming the failure of tide gates located on property within the infested area for the cause of the problem.
They suspect that remaining pools of water stagnated, enabling the perfect environment for breeding mosquitoes. The agency has offered to some of the landowners to bring in equipment to dredge the area for better drainage, but suspicions remain as to their real motives.
One reason is that the service’s own biologists relate the current infestation directly to the marsh expansion, which is contradictory to the main storyline.
In addition, over the last few years, several property owners have been seeking permission to replace aging tide gates and they claim that the government is not granting those permits.
Which agency is responsible for granting permits? That is right, none other than the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The belief of the new leadership on the refuge is that the government will have to expand the marsh to contain the burgeoning wildlife, which sounds like another excuse for a land grab. The agency can only purchase land from “willing sellers,” and claim not to have the funds for the acquisitions.
What better way to create “willing sellers” than to deny them the permits for the gates knowing those actions will cause more mosquito infestations? Moreover, because the infestation will be off the marsh the agency can deny culpability, while acting as savior when they come in with an offer to purchase.
To add insult to injury, Coos County Commissioner John Sweet, who is the liaison between the county and the USFWS, has been parroting the same message of obfuscation. Mr. Sweet said in a conversation at the county fair, “that it seems unlikely that the mosquitoes in the valley are coming from the marsh.”
The commissioner is currently facing a recall for not supporting an ordinance to preserve the Second Amendment in Coos County. His alliance with Fish and Wildlife and caviler attitude towards this latest controversy is a risky public relations tactic, especially since he risks the backlash of his constituents.
Proving the point, The Committee to Recall John Sweet is having a campaign meeting in the Owen Building, 201 N. Adams St., Coquille, on Friday, July 31, at 7 p.m.
There are several reasons for the removal of John Sweet and the recall committee is inviting everyone to come out to the meeting this Friday to learn the petitioning process. The experience will provide the basic knowledge needed to file future initiatives, recalls or referenda and the ability to defend the people from bad officials and even worse political policies, no matter what ideology practiced. Equally, the group will need all the help it can get to remove such an entrenched politician.
Rob Taylor is the founder of a local virtual network of activists, which is located on the internet at www.CoosCountyWatchdog.com.