Jim Oehler: (603) 271-2461
Liza Poinier: (603) 271-3211 or 271-1734       
September 14, 2007

Fish and Game Insect Control Policy Puts Human Health First

CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Acting Director Donald S. Clarke today emphasized that safeguarding human health and safety is Fish and Game's top priority when the need arises for insect control on Department lands.

Based on current guidelines, and because of the fact that the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services has already issued a public health threat warning with regard to Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in the southeastern part of the state, more than 1,800 acres of Fish and Game properties are eligible for treatment during the 2007 season.

"There is no question that human health and safety is of the utmost concern to N.H. Fish and Game," said Clarke.  "Our policy regarding spraying for mosquitoes is proactive, responsive and effective in addressing the needs of New Hampshire's cities and towns."

Key elements of the N.H. Fish and Game Department's policy encourage monitoring for mosquitoes on Fish and Game-owned lands, identification of disease-bearing mosquito populations, and treatment of those areas. Here's how the policy works:

  • Fish and Game allows monitoring of mosquitoes on Department property without any pre-approval requirement.
  • Without any testing required, treatment to control mosquito larvae may be used to control mosquitoes in artificial water receptacles such as old tires, barrels and man-made water catch basins found on any N.H. Fish and Game Department lands.
  • Biological control agents such as BTI (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) or BS (Bacillus sphaericus) may be used in natural wetlands and waterbodies on Fish and Game lands when one of the following conditions is found:
    • Disease-bearing mosquitoes are found in the current year or were found in any of the three previous years;
    • Waters are within the mosquito flight range (one-quarter mile to five miles, depending on species) around a known positive site identified by monitoring in the current year or any of the three previous years; or
    • Waters are located within five miles of a disease-positive human or animal.
  • When a public health threat is declared by the N.H. Health and Human Services Commissioner, the N.H. Fish and Game Department will allow application of pesticides that kill adult insects on lands it administers when the area proposed for treatment is near an area of high public use, such as schools, sports complexes, etc. Under these circumstances, Fish and Game must be contacted so that a site visit can be coordinated with the pesticide applicators to ensure that appropriate signage and possible access closures can be arranged as necessary to prevent unintended human exposure to insecticides and residues.

"What's really important for people to know is that Fish and Game policy encourages monitoring and allows for the treatment of areas with a high risk of disease," said Clarke.  "Our policy safeguards human health while also protecting New Hampshire water and wildlife.

"The policy strikes an important balance between human health and concerns for the long-term health of the state's fish and wildlife and habitats, but it always puts people first in critical public health situations," said Clarke.

The Fish and Game Department will continue to work with other state agencies and stakeholders to review new information on EEE and West Nile Virus to make necessary changes in its policy.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats.

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