C.B.P. News Release

CBP Restarts Carrizo Cane Removal, Control Pilot Project

Project to Resume Without Aerial Spraying of Herbicide

(Thursday, April 16, 2009)

Laredo, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection today announced that it is resuming Carrizo cane removal activities in a 1.1-mile long project corridor – without aerial spraying of herbicide – as part of the Laredo Sector Carrizo Cane Removal and Control Pilot Project along the Rio Grande River.

CBP halted the project March 20 to give further consideration to the concerns of citizens and local officials regarding aerial herbicide spraying. Although aerial spraying has been shown to be both safe and effective and is subject to state licensing requirements, the Border Patrol decided to forego the use of aerial spraying in this 1.1 mile project corridor and in any future projects located within the 16.1 mile zone covered by the August 2008 Environmental Assessment. In this 1.1 mile project, cane will be removed using either the cut stem or the mechanical removal method.

In the cut stem/herbicide method, the contractor cuts off cane stalks approximately three inches above the ground by hand or through the use of small machinery. Within two to three minutes, the contractor paints a small amount of herbicide on the top of the cut stump using a hand applicator. The plant draws the herbicide down into its roots and it ultimately dies within 45 to 60 days. The previously cut cane stalks are then removed from the site or chipped and used as mulch.

The mechanical/herbicide removal method uses heavy equipment to dig and remove all of the roots and above ground shoots of the cane. The resulting biomass is chipped and distributed on-site as mulch or hauled off-site and disposed of appropriately (such as in a landfill).

Any re-sprouts that occur after the application of either method will be treated by hand application of herbicide. Site inspections and re-sprout treatments will continue for six years following initial cane removal.

CBP will use herbicide products with the active ingredient imazapyr or glyphosate registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and labeled for the intended use. EPA initially registered imazapyr and glyphosate products in 1985 and 1973, respectively. Both are approved for control of a broad range of terrestrial and aquatic weeds and for application with ground, aerial, and hand-held equipment. As part of EPA's program to systematically re-evaluate the safety of all registered pesticides, EPA in June 2006 and 1993 and in subsequent years determined that imazapyr and glyphosate, respectively, continue to meet EPA's safety standards provided they are used according to label directions.

Dense Carrizo cane borders much of the Rio Grande River and has an adverse impact on CBP’s Border Patrol operations. These plants make much of the riverbanks inaccessible to Border Patrol

agents and make it nearly impossible for them to have an unobstructed view of the river. In addition to border security and agent safety issues, Carrizo cane also consumes very large quantities of water, which reduces local water supply levels and limits the amount of water available for farming and other agricultural purposes.

CBP has worked in concert with the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study the different options available to remove Carrizo cane because it is an invasive non-native plant that commonly grows from nine to 27 feet tall in multi-stemmed clumps, often forming large stands hundreds of feet across.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Contacts For This News Release
Laredo Sector
CBP Public Affairs
Phone: (956) 764-3041 Ext: 3243

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/new ... 2009_5.xml