CASTLETON — The lake association’s herbicide permit application is still on hold.

In late May, the Lake Bomoseen Association (LBA) asked the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to place a technical hold on its application to treat the lake with ProcellaCOR, an herbicide used to treat milfoil, until Aug. 1.

“We are going to continue with the technical hold to continue to allow more time to assess the situation and figure out what makes the most sense going forward,” said Sam Drazin, interim president of the LBA, on Thursday.

He did not give a date for when the technical hold would be lifted, but said it won’t be on hold indefinitely.

“I would say the technical hold is continuing to allow the LBA and the (Lake Bomoseen Preservation Trust) to continue to engage the community in terms of what makes sense going forward when we feel like we have enough information.”

The LBA applied for a permit to use the herbicide earlier this year. As news of the application spread, it drew an enormous local backlash, leading to protests, yard signs and highly-attended public debates.

Opponents of the herbicide say it will cause too much ecological damage to the lake for the impact on milfoil to be worth it. The LBA, meanwhile, has said the invasive weed is a growing problem and that herbicide may be one of the methods used to control it.

“I would expect later this fall to sit down and reassess, and at that point make a determination as to how to proceed,” said Drazin.

He said the application hasn’t been approved and, even if it were, the LBA would have to raise a significant amount of funds to cover the cost of the herbicide.

The LBA has said in the past that treating the 600 acres of lake its surveys have identified as problem areas would cost $750,000 over a three-year period.

Though the herbicide permit application fee was $500, the survey needed to file cost $20,000.

“There’s this misconception that anything could happen tomorrow, which is just unrealistic,” said Drazin. “It’s a long-term, long game plan here and this is really just the first step, and one of the things we’re trying to do is make sure we go slow, to make sure we go methodically, and make sure we take the time to have respectful, collaborative conversations to determine what makes the most sense. Having attacking conversations isn’t productive, and so in order to figure out what to do next we need to have those collaborative, respectful, calm conversations.”

Bob Stannard, who owns a camp on Lake Bomoseen and has led much of the opposition effort to the use of the herbicide, said Friday in spite of the hold, the application is still active.

“Their desire to spray the lake has not dissipated, they still want to spray the lake,” he said.

According to Stannard, the majority of people who use the lake don’t want the herbicide applied to it. An avid angler, he claims that the milfoil isn’t as big an issue as the LBA makes it out to be, and isn’t worth spraying the lake over.

“They don’t need any more information; all the information in the world is out there,” he said. “What they need to do is retract this application and begin the process of engaging with the community as to how best to deal with the lake, if it’s a problem.”

keith.whitcomb

@rutlandherald.com

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