Letter of Protest For Toxic Spray

Date: December 29, 2015

Subject: Letter of protest for massive toxic herbicide spray in Sultan-Startup area, WA


Springboard Wallace Falls LLC

Governor of WA State Jay Inslee

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene

Members of the WA Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee

WA Department of Agriculture

WA State Department of Health

WA State Department of Ecology

DNR Commissioner Peter Goldmark

WA State Forest Practices Board

DNR Northwest Region

Snohomish County Elected Officials

Snohomish County Planning & Development Services

Snohomish Health District

Snohomish County Board of Health

Snohomish County Council

Sky Valley City Governments – Sultan, Gold Bar, Index, Monroe, Snohomish



Tulalip Tribes

WA Environmental Council

ALPS (Alpine Lakes Protection Society)

NCCC (North Cascades Conservation Council)

Sierra Club, WA State Chapter

Sierra Club of Snohomish County

WFLC (Washington Forest Law Center)

WA Toxics Coalition

NCAP (NW Center for Alternatives to Pesticides),

FOWS (Friends of Wild Sky)

PAS (Pilchuck Audubon Society)


Wild Washington Rivers

Friends of Heybrook Ridge

Index Wall (newspaper)

Michael Whitney, Melanie Russell (Snohomish County Tribune)

Chris Henrickson (Monroe Monitor)

Amy Nile (Everett Herald)

Linda Mapes (Seattle Times)

Alison Morrow (KING 5 NEWS)




SVENA mailing list (Skykomish Valley residents, business owners, heads and members of non-profits)


Dear Sir/Madam,

Sky Valley Environmental & Economic Alliance (SVENA) would like to inform you that around September 20, 2015 timber company Springboard Wallace Falls LLC  executed a massive toxic chemical spray from a helicopter under Forest Practice Applications (FPAs) # 2814793 (252 acres) and 2814705 (804 acres) for a total of 1,056 acres. The spray consisted of a mix of toxic herbicides. (For a list of chemicals and information about them, please see https://svena.org/current-projects/chemical-spraying/.) This application took place on several consecutive days in the Sultan Startup area, North of Hwy 2.

There was no advance warning to the residents of this area for this huge spraying operation in our water- shed. Local citizens were horrified and upset when they observed for hours a helicopter with toxic clouds around it. This neighborhood has numerous homes, families, children, businesses, farms and organic farms, gardens and orchards. The residents are very concerned about their well water. There are many private wells in this area and most of them are shallow.

No company or government agency performed follow-up testing or monitoring for possible drift or contamination of non-targeted properties and resources, such as air, surface water and well water. Past evidence has demonstrated that:

  1. Herbicides often move away from the intended target through drift, run-off, leaching into groundwater, and volatilization and condensation (evaporating and coming down elsewhere, in rain), poisoning well water, streams, rivers and Puget Sound.
  2. Pesticides (herbicides and insecticides) have been documented to concentrate in the air, in valley fog.
  3. Very few monitoring studies have been done, on aerial application of pesticides on forestlands. One of the most recent was the1993 WA State Department of Ecology study “Effectiveness of Best Management Practices for Aerial Application of Forest Pesticides” by Rashin and Graber. In that study, despite knowing they were being monitored and using “best management practices,” (which have not changed much since then), ALL seven tested streams were contaminated with pesticides. After that, larger buffers were recommended, but many of the same buffer widths are still used, without follow-up monitoring, to see if streams are being contaminated. It is quite likely that contamination of water is occurring.
  4. Some of the chemicals listed on the FPAs have been linked to cancers, neurological damage and other negative health effects.

Local residents and their children, pets, livestock, bees, fruit trees, organic gardens and farms, woodlots, etc. deserve to be free from chemical trespass. We also deserve clean water to drink and clean air to breathe. Public health and safety should not be compromised for industry profits.

The United States Forest Service has managed to conduct successful commercial forestry in the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest for a great many years without using chemical pesticides (herbicides or insecticides). We strongly suggest that private and state timberlands in WA could be managed in the same way, without the aerial application of chemical pesticides. The Forest Practices Board has the responsibility to craft and enforce regulations that protect Washington’s citizens from pesticides applied to forestlands, and monitor the effects of these chemicals on the ground.

We would like a prompt and concrete response from your agency in regards to this serious situation that is endangering public health and safety by executing aerial toxic spraying in populated watersheds, and in regards to prevention of this situation in the future.



Inessa Pearce


SVENA (Sky Valley Environmental & Economic Alliance)