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Progress report about poisons, wildlife: Much done, more to do

Owl in Arlington. / Laura Kiesel photo

Elaine Crowder, a Precinct 19 Town Meeting member, provided this update about reducing rodent poisons as well as protecting health and wildlife in Arlington.

Arlington has gotten further along in protecting our environment from rat poisons than any community in the state. The combined efforts of the town manager, his office, Department of Health, Select Board, Town Meeting, residents and Arlington's businesses and multifamily buildings have gotten us this far.

The most important action to date is the town manager's signing of a policy in January prohibiting the use of the most problematic of poison options, second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides, on all town properties. We as a community still have a way to go, as detailed here >>

 Importantly though, we are coming together to make changes that will protect nesting eagles, owls and hawks.

In the coming months, all residents and Town Meeting members can help by advertising the Health Department's spring forum to discuss communitywide alternatives to rat poison.

We can collectively change the way we store and discard food. We can implement nonpoisonous control strategies. We can talk to neighbors.

We can thank Arlington leaders. We can write Arlington legislators, Rep. Sean Garballey, Sen. Cindy Friedman, Rep. Dave Rogers, thanking them for sponsoring Arlington's request to control anticoagulants that are poisoning our nesting eagles and owls (H.804). And we can ask friends in other towns to write their legislators to explain why a vote for Arlington's Home Rule petition H.804 is a vote toward allowing greater control over poisons in their own communities.

Neighbors in adjacent towns and residents throughout Massachusetts, ask your own legislator to sign on as Michelle Ciccolo (15th Middlesex) has. Legislators from across the state will vote on our home-rule petition. Our petition has a better chance of passing if all legislators hear from constituents.

Dec. 20, 2022: Rat poison linked to owl's death: Take poison-free pledge

This statement was published Sunday, April 23, 2023.

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