Home Letter To The Editor Roundup On Mulholland Ridge

Roundup On Mulholland Ridge



The town of Moraga has posted a notice on its website (http://www.moraga.ca.us) informing readers of weed control activities on Mulholland Ridge Open Space this Wednesday (tomorrow) and Thursday. Roundup Pro will be used.

As someone who lives beneath the area being sprayed (and as a concerned citizen in general), I feel it’s important that more folks are made aware of the spraying. As there’s rain in the forecast for Thursday, this matter is more vital than ever. The spraying should be delayed, if not canceled outright.

Roundup is a prime suspect in the decline of amphibian species and may be affecting the bee and dragonfly population, as well. The following page has some interesting observations, as well as links to other related studies:


The law of unintended consequences is key here, and this issue is as important as that of the (recently restricted) use of rodent poison.

For those of us who live below the area where the spraying is done — and, really, anyone else who is concerned about the environment — this is an concern due to runoff. We have frogs and salamanders living in our backyard, and we’d like to keep them (and the native predators who eat them) healthy.

And if folks don’t care about amphibians and bugs, how about humans?


Everything we put in and on our yards and lawns goes somewhere. It gets into the groundwater, and runs off into curbside grates. Some of that runoff ends up in the San Leandro reservoirs — part of EBMUD’s water delivery system. In this regard, Mulholland Ridge and Orinda Oaks park can be considered watershed.

The USDA should have legislated a moratorium on Roundup’s use long ago, pending longer-term studies on its effects on non-target (i.e. anything other than weeds) species. The only reason this hasn’t happened is Monsanto’s potent lobbying — and litigious — power.

If you’d like to comment on Moraga’s use of Roundup, Moraga’s Park and Rec director, Jay Ingram, can be reached at jingram@moraga.ca.us. The Moraga Dept of Public Works’ phone number is 925 888-7026.

Paul Ashby


  1. Here is Moraga’s Jay Ingram’s reply, with my response following. It appears that Moraga is going ahead with the spraying.
    Mr. Ashby,

    Thank you for your email. Please know we share your concerns and do not take this effort lightly. In 2006 the Town Council adopted what would eventually be an award winning Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Policy, requiring staff to follow certain procedures, but allowing limited applications such as this. In order to appropriately address invasive species eradication in our 250 acre Mulholland property we consulted the Contra Costa County Agriculture Department, LSA Associates (a consulting firm that specializes in environmental planning), a land conservation expert, Oakland, East Bay Municipal Utility District, and East Bay Regional Park District.

    The spraying program is a partnership between the Town of Moraga and Contra Costa County Agriculture Department. County Ag. staff drives small four-wheel quads right up to each invasive species, stops and uses an individual “backpack” sprayer to hit the root of the plan. The spray is extremely localized to the root of the thistle plant.

    Jay Ingram
    Parks and Recreation Director
    Town of Moraga


    Thanks for your reply.

    Please note that moderate rains are expected on Thursday. This alone should delay spraying, no matter how localized application may be; the effectiveness of any herbicide is diminished by rainfall. Where there is spray there is always overspray and runoff.

    Moreover, the spraying should also be delayed until additional public comment can be relayed to the town of Moraga.


    Paul Ashby

  2. I agree completely with your assessment, Paul. I, too, emailed Mr. Ingram and received the same response. Here’s my reply and I hope he responds by suspending the spraying:

    Thank you for your email, Mr. Ingram. You may be aware that our Nextdoor site of neighborhoods in Moraga and Orinda has been fired up around this subject today. There are many impassioned residents who feel strongly that the use of Round Up, however carefully applied, is inappropriate and damaging to our precious environment.

    As technologies have advanced since 2006 and with the results of solid research demonstrating Round Up’s dangerously harmful effects on our environment (including bee hive collapse, loss of native fish species, etc.), we would encourage you and the County Ag Dept. to revisit your tactics and consider less harmful approaches including using non-toxic substances and the goat program (located in Orinda).

    In the short term, we hope that you will suspend spraying this week given the expected rains. I hope we can keep a dialogue going between you/the County and the residents and citizens who believe that protecting the environment and reducing the use of cancer-causing agents are a matter of public safety.

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