• Land Park Sound Check

    Land Park Sound Check

    Just another quiet day at the the Park.

    I rarely go to City Regional Parks anymore. On this day in September 2022, I stopped at Land Park to eat lunch and walk. I wasn’t there 5 minutes….

    So, note to Parks and Community Enrichment Commission…

    QUESTIONS?

    Why was the tree canopy of William Land Park Golf Course counted separately from William Land Park tree canopy during the 2018 Urban Tree Canopy Assessment for the Regional Parks?

    This would certainly increase the canopy cover percentage averaged over a given number of acres, and allow for adjustments to total tree canopy increases for the Park.

    Under “Bare Soils” the City documents have listed 1 acre under “Land Park.”

    I have counted 5-8 acres of bare soils not inclusive of the Baseball fields!

    More to follow…. 

    Tom DiFiore

  • William Land Park Views

    William Land Park Views:

    Bare Soils, Erosion, Runoff, Runaway Herbicide Use, Loss of Majestic Redwoods, Dust Storms

    This blog began back in late March, of 2022 – as an appendix and then addendum, to my Public Comments to the City of Sacramento.

    I’ve walked a few thousand miles around Curtis Park and Land Park. I’ve observed a faster pace of operations through the Park Avenues, across tree roots, and the over-use of GBH (glyphosate based herbicides). There’s also an increased use of industrial sized trailer mounted blowers (creating an Airborne Pollutant index off the charts – localized around Land Park – or maybe a Park near you).

    8:20 AM on a beautiful June morning.

    This new post, along with images and short videos, focuses on known transport mechanisms of herbicide residues of Glyphosate & AMPA into deeper layers of soils, surface waters, groundwater aquifers, and up the stems of trees, at Land Park, Curtis Park, and other Sacramento Area Parks, and Open Spaces. There is a plethora of recent research, documenting Glyphosate herbicide application, the persistence of AMPA in SOILS AND WATER, and resulting negative environmental impacts beyond target vegetation, due to chronic sub-lethal exposure.

    Those aren’t Crop Circles around the trees – those are Herbicide Circles.

    While rather long and slightly complex, it begins and ends with concerns for safe drinking water, and the very real possibility for contamination of surface water and groundwater – both of which are treated and used for drinking water in the Sacramento Valley. But there are no enforceable DRINKING WATER safety limits, or Maximum Contaminant Levels, (MCL) for the major breakdown metabolite of glyphosate; AMPA, or aminomethylphosphonic acid.

    [https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/drinkingwater/documents/ccr/mcls_epa_vs_dwp.pdf]


    CONTAMINANT MONITORING IN DRINKING WATER

    *AMPA is 3-6 fold times more toxic than glyphosate.

    “The contaminants with enforceable standards in California are generally comparable to Federal mandated standards by the US EPA, … although several contaminants are regulated by the State of California for which no federal standard currently exists.”

    “California administers a state-wide ‘unregulated contaminant’ monitoring rule program which requires routine monitoring and reporting. The State of California also has established a series of notification levels for 29 unregulated contaminants.“ Glyphosate is listed, *AMPA is not listed.

    Page 30 of 217 (June 2010)

    [ftp://ftp.sccwrp.org/pub/download/DOCUMENTS/CECpanel/CECMonitoringInCARecycledWater_FinalReport.pdf]

    GLYPHOSATE & AMPA

    Residues, Soil Penetration, and Runoff

    In 2018, it was conclusively proved in field tests that “herbicide formulations, i.e. the products that are actually used in the field, are more detrimental to tadpoles and other aquatic organisms than the active ingredient glyphosate itself. “

    [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5101619/]

    Glyphosate Based Herbicide Residues – Persistence and Mobility in the Environment

    There is reasonable concern of documented negative impacts to fish, amphibians, and semi-aquatic reptiles, by herbicide residue runoff into ponds, into street gutters and wastewater streams and rivers.

    There’s bare soils surface erosion, which disperses the herbicide mix and its metabolite to adjacent non-target landscapes, and the runoff travels far… across sidewalks, over curbs into street drainages and into wastewater streams.

    Water runoff is reclaimed and recycled for beneficial uses-

    Don’t be fooled by the sales pitch for reclaimed water using a select view of history- “It has been safely reused in California for more than 100 years.”

    ‘Safely reused’ for agricultural purposes, with complete separation from potable drinking water supplies.

    But adding reclaimed water to our groundwater aquifers is new.

    How many folks are aware of the recent Sacramento Area plan to recharge our groundwater aquifer with recycled wastewater- both surface waters and wastewater streams – just like those mentioned above – by pumping it down wells, into the groundwater aquifer? (this is planned Statewide)

    PARK SAFETY

    Park Safety – How Many Days A Year is it safe to go to the Park without risking exposure to noise pollution (above 65dB at 100 feet) air pollution, herbicide overspray, recycled irrigation water that contains potential carcinogens or hormone disrupters to both children and pets? (Other States post WARNINGS to keep pets and children from playing in the recycled water pumped through irrigation lines at Parks).

    BARE SOILS AND EROSION – Airborne Contaminants

    The soil erosion – as dirt, dust, and contaminants (from herbicide residues, and street pollutants such as microscopic tire wear particulates, petroleum residues and disc brake emissions, also becomes airborne in the spring and summer; as it all is blown into the air by Sacramento Area Parks And Recreation deployment of industrial scale, mounted tractor blowers – coating the trees and leaves – maybe the linings of our lungs too.

    A public health hazard, Spring, Summer and into Fall, that’s easily avoided.

    Perhaps worse though, are the myriad routes of combined contaminant pollution to our biome.

    Up, Down, All Around

    Vertical movement through the soil layers occurs after applications of Glyphosate Based Herbicide treatments with familiar names like: Roundup, Ranger Pro, Generic Roundup, Roundup Lite

    Half-lives and Chronic Exposure

    Recent research looks at half-lives, the persistence in soil/sediments, and the pervasiveness of glyphosate and AMPA across the agricultural and urban landscapes. Long-term studies of AMPA (as the major breakdown metabolite of glyphosate), have led to new understandings of negative impacts to naturalized biological communities. Far different conclusions are reached in studies compiling longer term results, from field research based upon samplings of chronic exposures (as opposed to the acute exposure studies provided by industry).

    One must also recognize that there are two, Glyphosates. The “technical Glyphosate” and the “formulated Glyphosate” – the latter of which is used in the field, and includes proprietary chemicals as adjuvants, to make the non-soluble “technical Glyphosate” soluble in water, and thus move through the cells of vascular plants. Trees are vascular plants.

    Tree Roots

    “Roots serve many roles in supporting all plant life, including trees. They take up water and nutrients from the soil, allowing them to move into and through a tree’s transport system to reach all of its parts. According to Utah State University, when glyphosate is applied to an undesirable plant and kills it, the dying plant releases some of the chemical back into the soil through its roots. Tree roots in the area can take up some of this chemical, either by contact with the roots of the dying plant or by directly taking up residual glyphosate from the soil.”

    Effect on Tree Health

    “Glyphosate can significantly damage the overall health of a tree that absorbs it into its roots. The compound interferes with uptake of several important micronutrients, including manganese, zinc, iron and boron, elements that help support the tree’s ability to resist disease.“

    “Investigators at Cornell University found that using glyphosate to control weeds under apple trees affected the quality of the fruit, causing harvested apples to develop brown internal areas and spoil quickly in storage.”

    [https://homeguides.sfgate.com/effect-glyphosate-tree-roots-29076.html]


    Known Impacts Of Overuse Of Glyphosate in Agriculture and Forestry

    (From the chemical industries and farmers, and Agricultural Extensions and University Studies)

    Glyphosate is non-selective, and accidental overspray to desirable plants can be devastating. This is especially true for young trees that have thin bark, and often have chlorophyll in their bark.

    “Glyphosate is a systemic herbicide that moves through the phloem and accumulates in the roots. However, when accidentally over-sprayed onto the thin or pigmented bark of young trees, glyphosate accumulates in the phloem and can take years to break down, as it is then translocated to the roots along with the sugars in the fall. “

    “When sap rises the following spring, it carries the glyphosate along with it, causing a variety of symptoms: witches brooms, cupping, stunted growth, chlorosis, and bark splitting. The injury can continue a number of years after the misapplication.” (Dr. Hannah Mathers… OSU research)

    Photosynthesis – Translocation

    Basically speaking: Plant nutrients are synthesized in the greenest, and leafy parts of a plant. The non-green parts are dependent on the photosynthetic cells for nourishment. The food, in the form of sucrose is transported by the vascular tissue phloem.

    “But in Spring, before the leaves are grown, the sugar stored in roots is mobilized upward in the Xylem, and moves towards the growing shoots and buds of new leaves and flowers. “

    Formulations of Glyphosate Based Herbicides leave behind eco-toxilogical residues and metabolites, (i.e., AMPA) with known persistence in soils and water, negatively impacting species life cycles across overlapping timelines, reducing population metrics of species ecology and function, leaving behind a legacy of chronic sub-lethal effects on soil organisms, non-target vegetation, trees, non-target species of algae, amphibians, reptiles, fish, mammals – all in a plethora of slow extinction pathologies.

    “After penetrating the leaves, glyphosate will reach active metabolic sites, such as root and shoot meristems, after being translocated to vascular tissues.”

    “Plant organs with high rates of metabolism and growth, such as nodules, root tips, and shoot apices, represent important sinks for glyphosate and AMPA..”

    “Once in root tissues, glyphosate and AMPA can reach active metabolic sites such as the shoot meristems through xylem conduction.”

    To understand how glyphosate moves through plants, blocking enzymes, resulting in death, let us first recognize that vascular plants require Xylem and Phloem.

    Meet Xylem and Phloem

    “Xylem and Phloem move water and nutrients throughout the plant tissues and organs in what is called a vascular bundle, promoting growth.”

    Phloem tissues are tubular-shaped, elongated structures, with the presence of walls with thin sieve tubes – that are located on the outer side of the vascular bundle. Whereas, the Xylem tissues are the tubular-shaped structure, with the absence of any cross wall, located in the centre of the vascular bundle.

    Phloem fibers are larger than Xylem.

    Whereas “Xylem are present in roots, stems and leaves. Phloem are present in stems and leaves, and in roots, fruits and seeds.”

    Movement in the xylem tissue is essentially a one-way acropetal (upward) movement from the roots via the transpiration stream.

    In contrast, substances in the phloem have bidirectional movement; and movement may be acropetal or basipetal (downward).

    “The Xylem, transport soluble mineral nutrients and water molecules from the roots to the aerial parts of the plant. The Phloem, transport food and other nutrients including sugar and amino acids from leaves to storage organs and growing parts of the tree.”

    “The Phloem is responsible for transporting proteins and mRNAs throughout the plant. The Xylem is responsible for replacing the total amount of lost water molecules through transpiration and photosynthesis. To do this, the Xylem tissues transport minerals and water from the roots and carry them to other parts of the plants through two separate chambers – tracheids and vessels – transporting minerals and water.”

    The Phloem tissues transport nutrients and food from leaves to other growing parts of plants.

    For a splendidly deep discussion of:

    Translocation – Xylem & Phloem

    “Translocation is the movement of materials from leaves to other tissues throughout the plant. Plants produce carbohydrates (sugars) in their leaves by photosynthesis, but non-photosynthetic parts of the plant also require carbohydrates and other organic and nonorganic materials. For this reason, nutrients are translocated from sources (regions of excess carbohydrates, primarily mature leaves) to sinks (regions where the carbohydrate is needed). Some important sinks are roots, flowers, fruits, stems, and developing leaves. Leaves are particularly interesting in this regard because they are sinks when they are young and become sources later, when they are about half grown.”

    Please visit:

    [http://www.biologyreference.com/Ta-Va/Translocation.html]


    We All Enjoy Green Parks

    Ever wonder about the bare soil areas under the trees, or the bare soil acres along the edges of Park Pathways, and neighborhood Avenues?

    It’s caused by the application of glyphosate based herbicide.

    Unnatural, and unnecessary!

    This next video, taken at William Land Park, depicts regular watering schedules and obvious routes as transport mechanisms- soil penetration, and run-off, by the Glyphosate based herbicide Ranger Pro (date of recent application 040622). Ranger Pro is used by the City to spray parks, and is affectionately known as RoundUp Lite! As Glyphosate breaks down into its major metabolite, AMPA (which persists far longer than glyphosate), its movement through soils, and over bare soil surfaces, can easily be understood.

    What happens when residual herbicide contaminants reach the water table?

    What happens when residual herbicide contaminants reach shallow surface waters, like the ponds at Parks? The Park Ponds are often used to irrigate Park lawns and trees, like the sprinklers that pets and kids play through, which helps to keep the pond water clean, by cycling, the water.

    There’s So Much More

    “Under aerobic conditions, the halflife of Glyphosate ranges from 1.8 to 109 days in soil and 14–518 days in water-sediment systems; however, in anaerobic water-sediment systems it ranges from 199 to 208 days. Nevertheless, according to the published data the halflife of Glyphosate ranges from 7 to 14 days.”

    “Glyphosate contamination has emerged as a pressing issue because of its high-water solubility and extensive usage in the environment (especially in shallow water systems). Therefore, the exposure of nontarget aquatic organisms to these herbicides is a concern of ecotoxicologists.”

    “AMPA has a lower water solubility and longer soil halflife than glyphosate. The presence of AMPA in freshwater, sediment, and suspended particulate is commonly measured in significant quantities, and even more frequently than glyphosate.”

    The link below takes one to a scientific review that “summarizes current knowledge about residual glyphosate and its major metabolite AMPA in the aquatic environment, including its status and toxic effects in aquatic organisms, particularly fish. The toxic effect of glyphosate and its major metabolite AMPA has mainly influenced growth, early development, oxidative stress biomarkers, antioxidant enzymes, haematological, and biochemical plasma indices and also caused histopathological changes in aquatic organisms.”

    “Generally, the mobility and concentration of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) are mainly influenced by their bioavailability, bioaccumulation, persistence, ecotoxicity, and transfer into the aquatic environment.”

    “AMPA is 3-6 fold times more toxic than glyphosate.”

    “On the one hand, the soil has functioned as storage; on the other hand, these contaminants leach below the root zone into groundwater. Glyphosate is also transported by runoff into surface water and consequently accumulated in sediment where glyphosate can be highly mobile.” Full text

    [https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3417/11/19/9004/htm]


    Groundwater Contamination

    Here, in Sacramento, we are living on the Floodplain of the Sacramento River Basin.

    “Groundwater levels in the city of Sacramento are reported to be stable at 20-40 feet above mean sea level (msl) (Sacramento Groundwater Authority 2003, cited in City of Sacramento 2005). In the Natomas Basin, groundwater levels vary seasonally with precipitation and runoff in this area and may rise closer to the ground surface during wet years. In addition, groundwater levels are influenced locally by pumping as the groundwater is withdrawn regularly during spring and summer for irrigation, and throughout the year for general use by most of the local growers; as a result, groundwater is generally higher in March and lower in October. “ See p7

    [https://saclafco.saccounty.gov/Meetings/Documents/2006/august/draftenviro/sac_006010.pdf]

    What is the Groundwater Elevation?

    The elevation of the groundwater, or water table, above mean sea level at any selected location.

    The elevation of The City of Sacramento is between 43-47 feet. And it is the distance to the groundwater that is critical, as well as the soil type, and sub-surface hydrology.

    What Is The Water Table?

    “The approximate upper surface of the saturated zone is referred to as the water table. Water in the saturated zone below the water table is referred to as ground water. Below the water table, the water pressure is high enough to allow water to enter a well as the water level in the well is lowered by pumping, thus permitting ground water to be withdrawn for use.”

    This 2016 Groundwater Elevation Contour map shows that the water table is just above mean sea level north of the American River, nearest the City of Sacramento.

    [https://www.sgah2o.org/basin-conditions/groundwater-elevation-contour-maps/]

    The lowest ground elevation at William Land Park, shows to be 26 feet above mean sea level, and can be found here.

    [https://en-us.topographic-map.com/maps/sccr/Sacramento-County/]

    Groundwater Table Contours

    “Groundwater found below the water table comes from precipitation that has seeped through surface soil.
    *The water table is an underground boundary between the soil surface and the area where groundwater saturates spaces between sediments and cracks in rock.
    *The soil surface above the water table is called the unsaturated zone, where both oxygen and water fill the spaces between sediments.
    *Underneath the water table is the saturated zone, where water fills all spaces between sediments. The saturated zone is bounded at the bottom by impenetrable rock.”

    “The shape and height of the water table is influenced by the land surface that lies above it; it curves up under hills and drops under valleys.”

    “The water table level can vary in different areas and even within the same area.”

    “Fluctuations in the water table level are caused by changes in precipitation between seasons and years. During late winter and spring, when snow melts and precipitation is high, the water table rises.”
    [https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/water-table]

    This next image shows the Central Basin, south of the American River, and near the City of Sacramento, east past Carmichael, Fair Oaks, and Orangevale, out to Folsom, and south past Elk Grove towards Galt.

    From Sacramento Central Groundwater Authority Groundwater Elevation Monitoring Plan February 2012 p11

    [https://scgah2o.saccounty.gov/documents/SCGA%20CASGEM%20PLAN.pdf]

    Is there really any doubt that Glyphosate, and AMPA reach our precious groundwater aquifers? And if not by natural infiltration, then soon by direct pumping into wells to recharge those basins of the 515 groundwater basins Statewide that are most critically depleted.

    From the Public Policy Institute of California

    “The state’s 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act gives local agencies the tools and authority they need to develop and implement plans that will bring their basins into balance. The most stressed basins have until 2020 to adopt plans to achieve groundwater sustainability over a 20-year period.”

    “California’s groundwater basins can store large volumes of additional water—at least three times more than the state’s existing dams. There is ample room for replenishment in overdrafted basins. Groundwater basins can be “recharged” by spreading water on fields to percolate through the soil and injecting water into wells.”

    Using data from California Department of Water Resources;

    “Under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, groundwater users in critically overdrafted basins must adopt sustainability plans by 2020 and attain sustainable management within 20 years; other priority basins must adopt plans by 2022. In all, 127 basins, accounting for 96 percent of annual groundwater pumping, are considered priority basins that must comply within this time frame.”

    “Groundwater contamination is a growing water quality problem.”

    [https://www.ppic.org/publication/groundwater-in-california/]

    Curbside Runoff

    Consider this:

    The 2020 Sacramento Urban Water Management Plan Guidebook Appendix M, states:

    “Title 22 (California Code of Regulations, Division 4, Chapter 3, Section 60301 et seq.) is the regulation overseeing reuse or “recycling” of municipal wastewater to protect public health.”

    “A key component of incorporating municipal recycled water into water supply is aligning potential uses to the availability of various levels of treated municipal recycled water. “

    Along with collection of wastewater streams (reclaimed or recycled urban runoff) regulations have been established for groundwater recharge with recycled water (2014-2016).

    Really, I think here the plan is to reduce the residual contaminant level, or concentration in ppm, by mixing, and diluting, and dissipating…. And I just want to mention here, pharmaceuticals and personal care products cannot be fully removed by advanced treatment.

    “Indirect potable reuse occurs when tertiary or advanced treated wastewater augments drinking water resources.”

    There are two types of indirect potable reuse:

    “Indirect potable reuse for groundwater recharge, where recycled water recharges a groundwater basin and groundwater is later extracted from the basin.”

    “Surface water augmentation, where recycled water is added into a surface water reservoir used as a source of domestic drinking water supply.”

    “Potable use does not actually occur until the water is subsequently pumped from the ground or withdrawn from the reservoir, treated, and added to the drinking water distribution system.” Page 9 of 31

    [https://water.ca.gov/-/media/DWR-Website/Web-Pages/Programs/Water-Use-And-Efficiency/Urban-Water-Use-Efficiency/Urban-Water-Management-Plans/Final-2020-UWMP-Guidebook/Appendix-M—UMWP-2020.pdf]

    Oh, and there will be new parcel fees and use fees for this groundwater.

    It’s a brave new world… well, actually it’s a “made new world” and we reap what we sow. This post will be need to be continued… Reclaimed water, used for Parks and Open Spaces, is known to kill Redwoods. And thus it is projected that Redwoods will disappear from popular, urban landscapes.

    And that takes us back full circle to where this blog began – Land Park Is Losing Its Majestic Redwoods.

    Copyright Disclaimer

    By invoking the ‘Copyright Disclaimer’ Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.”

    § 107. Limitations on exclusive rights- Fair use: Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    If you or anyone wish to use copyrighted material from this article for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

    Tom DiFiore

  • Glyphosate Blocks Enzyme Function In Plants, Fungi, Bacteria, Mammals

    Glyphosate Blocks Enzyme Function In Plants, Fungi, Bacteria, Mammals

    Xylem, Phloem, ESPS, Shikimate Pathway, Gastrointestinal Tract, Gut Biome, Amino Acids, Proteins, and the Building Blocks Of Life,

    Vs

    Glyphosate Based Herbicides:

    Roundup and Ranger Pro

    UPDATE 06212022 Summer Solstice

    Just last week… the EPA was court ordered to review its 2020 determination that Glyphosate ”was not likely to be carcinogenic to humans”.

    The 9th Circuit (appeals court) made clear the agency cannot continue to delay a process that could finally result in restrictions on glyphosate’s usage. The panel concluded that the EPA’s determination that glyphosate was not likely to be carcinogenic was not supported by substantial evidence,” said the ruling.” (06212022)

    [https://www.agriculture.com/news/business/appeals-court-tells-epa-to-consider-anew-if-glyphosate-is-carcinogenic]

    Turns out, we humans are not so different than the plants and bacteria around us.

    Most all mammals on the planet, have a symbiotic relationship with various gut microbes, or flora – which are bacteria that reside in their gastrointestinal tract – for the purpose of absorption of nutrients released in digestion.

    This post specifically addresses known pathways of documented illnesses reflected in a growing body of research linking the inhibition of the Shikimate Pathway – by glyphosate – to health impacts in kids, parents, babies, dogs, cats, trees, plants, and wildlife, through chronic exposures weighted by the widespread use of glyphosate based herbicides. 

    Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide designed to kill grasses and broad leaf plants, which like trees, are vascular plants. 

    Glyphosate targets emergent vegetation – grasses and broadleaf – by interfering with the Shikimate pathway, blocking a particular enzyme. 

    Glyphosate based herbicides kill plants by inhibiting an enzyme called EPSPS, which is part of a well-known series of biochemical reactions known as the “shikimate pathway”. The shikimate pathway is responsible for the synthesis of certain amino acids that are vital for the production of proteins, which are the building blocks of life. 

    “Thus when the synthesis of the amino acids is blocked by glyphosate’s inhibition of EPSPS, the plant dies.”

    “Humans and other animals do not have the shikimate pathway in the cells that make up their bodies, so industry and regulators have claimed that glyphosate is non-toxic to humans. But many strains of gut bacteria of the human gastrointestinal tract, do have the shikimate pathway, leading to debate as to whether Roundup and glyphosate could affect the gut microbiome. Imbalances in gut bacteria have been linked with many diseases, including cancer, diabetes, obesity, and depression.”

    How do glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides disrupt the human gut microbiome?

    The functions of the shikimate pathway in bacteria, and fungi, are the same as with vascular plants, that of being responsible for the synthesis of aromatic amino acids that are vital for the production of proteins, the building blocks of life.

    “A 2019 peer-reviewed study in rats provided the first definitive proof that glyphosate and Roundup can inhibit the series of biochemical reactions known as the “shikimate pathway” in the gut microbiome (bacterial population) and can cause alterations in the abundance of certain bacteria at regulatory-permitted (assumed safe) levels of exposure. The shikimate pathway is responsible for the synthesis of aromatic amino acids that are vital for the production of proteins, the building blocks of life. Studies in rats are generally accepted to be relevant to humans.”

    “The study, conducted by an international team of scientists based in London, France, Italy, and the Netherlands, and led by Dr Michael Antoniou of King’s College London, has been posted on the open peer-review site BioRxiv, pending publication in a peer-reviewed journal.”

    “Scientists had already hypothesized that glyphosate herbicides could inhibit the EPSPS enzyme of the shikimate pathway in gut bacteria, leading to imbalance in the microbiome and thence to harmful effects on health.“

    “However, proof that glyphosate herbicides can inhibit the EPSPS enzyme and the shikimate pathway in gut bacteria had been lacking until now. The new study proves beyond doubt that this does indeed happen.”

    (2019 research footnotes covering the above 4 paragraphs/section follow)

    3.  Mesnage R et al (2019). Shotgun metagenomics and metabolomics reveal glyphosate alters the gut microbiome of Sprague-Dawley rats by inhibiting the shikimate pathway. BioRxiv. doi: [https://doi.org/10.1101/870105]

    4.  See the Final addendum to the Renewal Assessment Report on glyphosate [https://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/13626/renewal_assessment_report_addenda_en.pdf] (October 2015), p23. Rapporteur Member State Germany and co-rapporteur Member State Slovakia state, based on industry claims, “Action at the shikimic acid pathway is unique to glyphosate and the absence of this pathway in animals is an important factor of its low vertebrate toxicity.”

    5.  Zmora N et al (2019) You are what you eat: diet, health and the gut microbiota. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 16: 35-56. [https://www.nature.com/articles/s41575-018-0061-2?draft=collection]

    [https://gmoscience.org/2020/01/15/glyphosate-and-roundup-disrupt-the-gut-microbiome-by-inhibiting-the-shikimate-pathway/]

    Glyphosate is thought to be safe to use because the shikimate pathway is found only in plants, fungi and bacteria. 

    “However, glyphosate may have a strong impact on bacterial species in the human gut microbiome, and several recent studies have shown that perturbations in the human gut microbiome are connected to many diseases. Therefore, the widespread use of glyphosate may have a strong effect on gut microbiomes as well as on human health.”

    [https://clinicalnews.org/2020/11/20/glyphosate-and-the-shikimate-pathway/amp/]

    “The penultimate enzyme of the pathway is the sole target for the herbicide glyphosate. Glyphosate-tolerant transgenic plants are at the core of novel weed control systems for several crop plants.”

    [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15012217/]

    Manganese, Anxiety, Autism

    The pre-eminent 2015 research titled:

    “Glyphosate, Pathways To Modern Diseases III: Manganese, Neurological Diseases, And Associated Pathologies” concluded; “that glyphosate’s disruption of Manganese homeostasis can lead to extreme sensitivity to variations in Mn bioavailability: While Mn deficiency in the blood leads to impairment of several Mn dependent enzymes, in contrast, excess Mn readily accumulates in the liver and in the brainstem due to the liver’s impaired ability to export it in the bile acids. This pathology can lead to liver damage and PD. Mn depletion in the gut due to chelation by glyphosate selectively affects Lactobacillus, leading to increased anxiety via the gut–brain access. Both low Lactobacillus levels in the gut and anxiety syndrome are known features of autism, and Lactobacillus probiotic treatments have been shown to alleviate anxiety. “

    “Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide on the planet, in part because of its perceived low toxicity to humans. In this paper, we propose that glyphosate’s chelation of Manganese (Mn) working together with other known effects of glyphosate such as CYP enzyme suppression and depletion of derivatives of the shikimate pathway in microorganisms, may explain the recent increase in incidence of multiple neurological diseases and other pathologies. “

    “Manganese (Mn) is an often overlooked but important nutrient, required in small amounts for multiple essential functions in the body. A recent study on cows fed genetically modified Roundup®-Ready feed revealed a severe depletion of serum Mn. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup®, has also been shown to severely deplete Mn levels in plants. Here, we investigate the impact of Mn on physiology, and its association with gut dysbiosis as well as neuropathologies such as autism, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), depression, anxiety syndrome, Parkinson’s disease (PD), and prion diseases. Glutamate overexpression in the brain in association with autism, AD, and other neurological diseases can be explained by Mn deficiency.”

    “Increased incidence of Salmonella poisoning may also be attributed to glyphosate, through its impairment of bile acid synthesis.”

    “Low Mn bioavailability from the blood supply to the brain leads to impaired function of glutamine synthase and a build-up of glutamate and ammonia in the brain, both of which are neurotoxic. Excess brain glutamate and ammonia are associated with many neurological diseases.”

    “Many diseases and conditions are currently on the rise in step with glyphosate usage in agriculture, particularly on GM crops of corn and soy. These include autism, AD, PD, anxiety disorder, osteoporosis, inflammatory bowel disease, renal lithiasis, osteomalacia, cholestasis, thyroid dysfunction, and infertility.”

    “All of these conditions can be substantially explained by the dysregulation of Mn utilization in the body due to glyphosate.”

    *Article contains over 160 footnotes

    [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4392553/#__ffn_sectitle]


    The Shikimate Pathway In Bacteria, Our Gut Microbiome, And Effects Of Glyphosate

    Continuing on the subject of the human gastrointestinal digestive-tract associated microbes; our own micro-flora of bacteria, are referred to as the gut microbiome. 

    The human gut microbiome and its role in both health and disease has been the subject of extensive research, establishing its involvement in human metabolism, nutrition, physiology, and immune function. Imbalance of the normal gut microbiota have been linked with gastrointestinal conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and wider systemic manifestations of disease such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and atopy.

    “In a healthy state, the gut microbiota have myriad positive functions, including energy recovery from metabolism of nondigestible components of foods, protection of a host from pathogenic invasion, and modulation of the immune system. A dysbiotic state of the gut microbiota is becoming recognized as an environmental factor that interacts with a host’s metabolism and has a role in pathological conditions, both systemic—obesity, diabetes, and atopy—and gut-related IBS and IBD, although the specific contribution of the gut microbiota to these diseases is unclear.” 2014

    [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566439/]


    Glyphosate and Roundup Proven to Disrupt Gut Microbiome by Inhibiting Shikimate Pathway 12112019

    “The primary mechanism of how glyphosate herbicides kill plants is by inhibiting an enzyme called EPSPS, which is part of a biochemical pathway known as the shikimate pathway. The shikimate pathway is responsible for the synthesis of certain aromatic amino acids that are vital for the production of proteins, the building blocks of life. Thus when the synthesis of the aromatic amino acids is blocked by glyphosate inhibition of EPSPS, the plant dies. “

    “Humans and animals do not have the shikimate pathway, so industry and regulators have claimed that glyphosate is nontoxic to humans. 

    “However, many strains of gut bacteria do have the shikimate pathway, leading to much debate about whether Roundup and glyphosate could affect the gut microbiome (bacterial populations). Imbalances in gut bacteria have been found to be linked with many diseases, including cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and depression.”

    [https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/glyphosate-and-roundup-proven-disrupt-gut-microbiome-inhibiting-shikimate-pathway]

    The following are excerpts from a review of “Glyphosate, Pathways to Modern Diseases IV: Cancer and Related Pathologies,” by Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff at Deerfield NH and MIT, respectively.

    [https://riordanclinic.org/2018/11/glyphosate-does-it-provide-a-pathway-to-modern-disease/]

    “Further problems in animals or humans arise from the activity of glyphosate and one of its metabolites in the gut flora. In rats, as well as humans, the gut flora can manufacture folate, an important nutrient, which neither rats nor humans synthesize on their own. As noted above, the shimitake pathway is shut down in plants and bacteria by glyphosate. So folate deficiency can arise from impairment of this pathway in our gut flora. Several tumors can be induced in liver and other organs due to folate deficiency.”

    “Diabetes is on the rise and often results from bile dysregulation and dysbiosis of the gut microbiome, both of which can result from higher glyphosate levels in the food supply. It also marks an increase of inflammation and increased risk of liver cancer and cancers of the intestinal tract. As shown in Monsanto’s data for rats, kidney abnormalities increased in rats. Similarly the rise of kidney disease and kidney failure is on the rise in humans, this increase took a sharp upturn in 2006.”

    Samsel A., Seneff S. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases IV: cancer and related pathologies. Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry15(3):121-159 · January 2015.

    [https://riordanclinic.org/2018/11/glyphosate-does-it-provide-a-pathway-to-modern-disease/]

    It would appear that Glyphosate Based Herbicides play a role in the increasing incidents of a variety of degenerative diseases including cancer in both animals and humans through various mechanisms.

    Documentation on this site, provides a piece of the puzzle, a piece of the picture, and with just a little more of the larger National picture; one can understand how Sacramento Department of Paks and Recreation by it’s overuse of Ranger Pro Glyphosate Based Herbicide would fall into the EPA category of “main risk drivers” as described in the recent EPA Biological Evaluation for Glyphosate, late last year. 

    Final National Level Listed Species Biological Evaluation for Glyphosate

    Just 6 months ago, in November 2021, EPA released the final Biological Evaluation assessing risks to listed species from “by-the-label” uses of glyphosate. The term “listed species” refers to those that are federally listed as endangered or threatened, as well as populations and species that are proposed and candidates for listing.”

    From the EPA:

    “Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicides in North America. Glyphosate belongs to the phosphono amino acid class of herbicides and is a foliar, non-selective, systemic herbicide widely used to control weeds in agricultural crops and non-agricultural sites. Glyphosate inhibits an enzyme on the shikimate pathway that is essential for the biosynthesis of some aromatic amino acids in algae, higher plants, bacteria and fungi. Inhibition of this enzyme leads to cell death. Glyphosate is used on a wide variety of agricultural food and feed crops, non-foodfeed crops, for plantationsilviculture uses, and for nursery/greenhouse use.”

    “Important non-agricultural uses include applications for noxious and invasive weed control in aquatic systems, pastures and rangelands, public lands, forestry, and rights-of-way applications. Glyphosate is also used for general weed control or for lawn replacement/renovation in commercial, industrial, and residential areas (by homeowners, landscaping operators, etc.”

    “…non-agricultural uses being the main risk drivers and the lack of availability and uncertainty in usage data associated with these use sites.”

    [https://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/nas/final-herbicide/es-gly.docx]

    “It is assumed that the glyphosate salts dissociate rapidly to form glyphosate acid and the counter ion. The main routes of dissipation are microbial degradation under aerobic conditions, and runoff. Glyphosate is expected to reach surface water primarily through spray drift; however, transport in runoff may also occur primarily via sorption of glyphosate-metal complexes to eroded soil. The highest concentrations of glyphosate in surface water are in urban environments and in the vicinity of local use areas.”


    Glyphosate Madness in a meme…

    PRACTICALLY NON-TOXIC

    TECHNICAL GLYPHOSATE

    FORMULATED GLYPHOSATE

    “Technical glyphosate is practically non-toxic to terrestrial and aquatic animals on an acute exposure basis. Toxicity studies, particularly acute aquatic toxicity studies, show that while some formulated products are less toxic than glyphosate active ingredient alone, others can be up to 2 orders of magnitude more toxic.”

    “Formulated glyphosate is moderately to highly toxic to fish, highly to very highly toxic to aquatic invertebrates, moderately toxic to mammals, and slightly toxic to birds on an acute exposure basis. In both terrestrial and aquatic animals, technical and formulated glyphosate demonstrate a variety of growth and reproductive effects at a range of chronic exposure concentrations.”

    “Glyphosate has demonstrated adverse effects on growth to both vascular and non-vascular aquatic plants as well as terrestrial plants. There have been over 1,000 reported ecological incidents (involving glyphosate use) for birds, fish, terrestrial invertebrates, and terrestrial plants.”

    “…the majority (96% of species and 97% of critical habitats) were considered to have moderate evidence. The majority of the moderate evidence designations were based on non-agricultural uses being the main risk drivers and the lack of availability and uncertainty in usage data associated with these use sites.”

    [https://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/nas/final-herbicide/es-gly.docx]

    Non-agricultural uses are the main risk drivers; including Non-cultivated, Open Space Developed, Right of Way, Forest Trees and Developed with predicted impacts to species or critical habitats.

    (From the EPA Executive Summary)

    What that translates to:

    Overall, it’s likely to adversely impact 

    75 endangered species of mammals,

    88 endangered bird species, 

    36 endangered amphibian species, 

    33 endangered reptile species, 

    179 endagngered fish species, 

    185 endangered aquatic invertebrates, 

    140 endangered terrestrial invertebrates, and 

    940 endangered plant species.


    June 18, 2022 UPDATE

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was ordered by a federal appeals court on Friday to take a fresh look at whether glyphosate, the active ingredient in Bayer’s Roundup weed killer, poses unreasonable risks to humans and the environment.

    In a 3-0 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with several environmental, farmworker and food-safety advocacy groups that the EPA did not adequately consider whether glyphosate causes cancer and threatens endangered species.

    Circuit Judge Michelle Friedland wrote for the Pasadena, California-based appeals court that the EPA did not properly justify its findings that glyphosate did not threaten human health and was unlikely to be carcinogenic to humans. She also faulted aspects of the agency’s approval process.

    [https://www.cnbc.com/2022/06/17/epa-ordered-to-reassess-health-risks-in-bayers-weed-killer-ingredient.html]

    “The 9th Circuit (appeals court) made clear the agency cannot continue to delay a process that could finally result in restrictions on glyphosate’s usage,” said the Natural Resources Defense Council. The environmental group along with sued the EPA over its 2020 interim decision that “glyphosate is unlikely to be a human carcinogen” or create health risks if used according to EPA guidelines.”

    As to human health risks, the appeals court said EPA’s conclusion “was in tension with parts of the agency’s analysis” and its guidelines. “EPA could not reasonably treat its inability to reach a conclusion about NHL (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) risk as consistent with a conclusion that glyphosate is not likely to cause cancer within the meanings of its Cancer Guidelines,” said the court in a four-page summary of its ruling.

    “The panel concluded that the EPA’s determination that glyphosate was not likely to be carcinogenic was not supported by substantial evidence,” said the ruling. (06212022)

    [https://www.agriculture.com/news/business/appeals-court-tells-epa-to-consider-anew-if-glyphosate-is-carcinogenic]

    Copyright Disclaimer

    By invoking the ‘Copyright Disclaimer’ Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.”

    § 107. Limitations on exclusive rights- Fair use: Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    If you or anyone wish to use copyrighted material from this article for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

    Tom DiFiore

  • Land Park Conversations on Herbicides

    Land Park Conversations on Herbicides

    Sacramento Area Parks and Recreation

    This blog continues with research that goes deeper into the City of Sacramento’s policy to spray parks….

    In my short conversations with those who use, or support the use of GBH – glyphosate based herbicides – like Roundup, or it’s current successor known as Ranger Pro (a.k.a. Roundup Light, or Generic Roundup) what I have learned has shown me that, because of the immense documentation, court documents, and billion dollar global market persuasion, the controversy has influenced opinions that are adopted, and shared that have no factual basis.

    Most supporters, and home users, the mow and blow specialists, the commercial licensed applicators, all begin their diatribe of disgust (when in conversation with those who state concern over glyphosate application) with the same company by-line, and it goes something like this:

    “Oh those Roundup lawsuits are like 5, or 6 people, they made a lot of noise, and half the lawsuits were thrown out.” Another version goes along similarly but concludes that the plaintiffs “were all paid employees or contract applicators who did not wear proper protective clothing or PPE, or didn’t follow the product label guidelines.”

    Both statements are completely false and not even close to reality. 

    While 3 multi-million dollar lawsuits were recently tossed out, that leaves 106,997 lawsuits that have been settled. 

    Another 30,000 are currently being adjudicated. And more are likely to be filed. 
    (And in California, Prop 65 is the basis of another 4,000 lawsuit in California, as the label did not mention Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, or cancer.)

    June 12, 2022 UPDATE

    SETTLEMENT REACHED IN

    107,000 ROUNDUP LAWSUITS 

    SETTLEMENT EXCEEDS 

    $10,000,000,000.00

    Yes, and the settlement is closer to $14 Billion actually. 

    Bayer (the Frankfurt based drug corporation) paid 63 billion dollars to purchase Monsanto in 2018, and is now the world’s largest supplier of agricultural seeds and crop chemicals.

    Bayer/Monsanto was ordered to pay the 10.5 Billion dollars in settlement, with another 4.5 Billion dollars set up to cover future claims, and do some research. 

    Nearly 30,000 ‘Roundup Causes Cancer’ litigations are pending, and more are being filed. 

    As of May 2022, Bayer/Monsanto had reached settlement agreements in over 100,000 Roundup lawsuits with arrangements to pay out $10.5 billion. 

    Bayer has accomplished this by negotiating block settlement arrangements with plaintiffs’ lawyers who have large numbers of cases in the litigation.

    Although these settlements account for nearly 80% of all pending Roundup claims, there are still about 26,000 active Roundup lawsuits. Most lawsuits have been filed in state courts. 

    And there are still over 4,000 claims in the Multi-District Litigation Roundup class action lawsuit pending in California. A panel of federal judges created a Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2741)  to centralize  Roundup lawsuits pending in 21 separate district courts in the U.S., into one court in California.

    All of the lawsuits accuse Monsanto of failing to warn consumers and regulators about the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma from exposure to glyphosate based Roundup. 

    New Roundup lawsuits continue to be filed and attorneys get calls or receive  online contact forms from Roundup victims with NHL almost every day.

    For the last two years, glyphosate has been at the center of thousands of lawsuits brought against Bayer, the pharmaceutical giant that took over Monsanto. Bayer produces Roundup, the weedkiller’s most popular brand name. Juries have awarded billions of dollars in damages to plaintiffs in court cases who claimed that glyphosate caused their cancers. In June, 2020, Bayer agreed to pay $10.5 billion to settle the remaining cases

    [https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/24/bayer-roundup-cancer-claims-338152]

    The question of how dangerous it is to human health remains unsettled. As part of its interim review, the EPA found that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans, but the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, has concluded it probably is carcinogenic to humans.

    [https://thecounter.org/epa-california-cancer-glyphosate-monsanto-prop-65/]

    Bayer has lost multiple million-dollar appeals for cases over glyphosate claims. Thousands of plaintiffs have filed lawsuits across the country against Bayer, which inherited Monsanto’s woes after it purchased the company.

    For current weekly litigation updates please visit:

    [https://www.millerandzois.com/roundup-cancer-attorneys.html]

    …”In August 2021, a California state appellate court upheld the verdict that awarded $87 million in damages to Alva and Alberta Pilliod of Livermore, California. The couple had used Roundup at home for about 30 years; later the Pilliods developed similar types of cancers, according to court documents.”

    “Among the moves, Bayer said it would stop selling Roundup products for residential use beginning in 2023.”

    “Bayer has settled about 107,000 cases out of 138,000. The U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California last year rejected Bayer/Monsanto’s offer of a $2 billion settlement, expressing concern it would not adequately address the concerns of families who may later be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”

    “As part of the 2021 Bayer announcement of settlement, the company said it would be setting aside about $4.5 billion for potential future legal claims and settlements if the Supreme Court did not agree to a review. That would put the total payout of Roundup claims at more than $14 billion.”

    “Last year EPA released a biological evaluation of glyphosate’s potential effect on endangered species and critical habitats, finding it was “likely to adversely affect” 1,676 listed species and 759 critical habitats, the vast majority of the species and habitats considered.”

    [https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/ag/crops/article/2022/06/13/bayer-ag-legal-options-open-roundup]


    This blog update is particularly useful to the current Summer of 2022 and any discussions about Roundup cancer claims against the Bayer/Monsanto Corporation. The ongoing use of glyphosate based herbicides such as Ranger Pro, by the City of Sacramento, or the County of Sacramento, in any Public Spaces such as Parks, Libraries, Open Spaces, parking lots, City buildings, County buildings, etc., must cease.

    Employ People Not Poisons

    Copyright Disclaimer

    By invoking the ‘Copyright Disclaimer’ Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.”

    § 107. Limitations on exclusive rights- Fair use: Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    If you or anyone wish to use copyrighted material from this article for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

    Tom DiFiore

  • Sacramento Area Parks, Ponds And Resident Wild Ducks and Geese, And Herbicides

    Wild Ducks and Geese, And Herbicides

    Firstly:

    Please do not allow pets or children to chase or disturb the ducks or geese, particularly young birds or families. It can stress out the birds or cause injuries. 

    And now; several more reasons to end herbicide use at Sacramento Area Parks and Open Spaces:

    Springtime is the time of newborns, babies, young waterfowl, and not the time to Spray Parks. 

    For many local waterfowl, April and May in the Sacramento Area are the months of newborns, and fresh Spring growth of ground cover, plants, bushes and trees.

    At Regional Parks the ponds are full…. 

    In the semi-wild urban green infrastructure of Sacramento, Springtime is the time of newborn ducklings, and goslings

    Ducks

    In the Sacramento Area, the natural diet for ducks may include snails, fish, algae, frogs, and shellfish, worms, snails, grasses, clover, dandelions, daisies, … ducks  will eat any kind of insect or meat. They eat pond skaters and diving beetles, snails and shellfish, and small fish as well as fish eggs, small amphibians and molluscs. Ducks also enjoy eating frogspawn and tadpoles.

    “Ducklings have the same diet as adult ducks but tend to eat more of the softer foods, including soft aquatic plants and algae, worms and tiny crustaceans and molluscs.”

    Ducks are excellent aquatic foragers and will spend long periods of time sifting and straining pond water to pick up different types of tiny or microscopic insects, worms, crustaceans and other shellfish.

    Their flat bills work almost like a sieve, allowing them to strain pond water to retrieve the food items. Ducks also consume most any aquatic pond vegetation and will generally consume whatever is available in the pond at the time, including amphibians, molluscs, even small fish.

    “Ducks do not just feed and forage on the water, but graze on the grasses too. Ducks will eat the grass itself, as well as any and all types of insects, worms, molluscs such as slugs and snails and larvae. Their bills are multi-purpose and have reasonably sharp edges suitable for tearing light vegetation from the ground.”

    Geese

    According to observations and insights at ‘Birds & Bugs & Things With Wings’:

    “Regardless of the subspecies, all wild geese consume a similar diet; and proper nutrition is as important to geese as it is to humans.”

    “The mainstays of the diet are grains, grasses, alfalfa, clover, wheat, beans, rice, corn, aquatic plants, roots, shoots, stems, seeds, bulbs, berries and the occasional insect. They forage for whole wheat and cracked corn in fields, grazing while walking.”

    “They follow a consistent schedule in their mealtimes, flying to their feeding areas in the mornings and afternoons. In between those two feedings, they are on the water, where they grab blades of aquatic grasses with their beaks and jerk them out of the ground. They also extend their long necks underneath the water and check out the bottom silt for additional plant food.”

    “Altogether, geese need to spend approximately half their day feeding, either on land or on water, in order to satisfy their nutritional needs.”

    “Green vegetation takes precedence over agricultural grains during the earlier months of the year. Like most other wildlife, geese increase the carbohydrates in their diets in the fall and winter. The carbohydrates produce elevated body heat, which helps to protect against the colder temperatures of the season. The adults gravitate toward agricultural grains, berries and barley. The younger birds feed primarily on alfalfa and winter wheat.”

    And as they state this so well; 

    Feeding Responsibly

    “It is possible to make those park visits positive experiences for the geese as well as for the humans. It boils down to feeding responsibly by cutting bread from the menu.”

    (And) “looking for the less-frequented areas to avoid over-crowding and feeding (only) healthy products such as corn (canned, frozen, fresh), pellets, lettuce and other greens, frozen peas (defrosted) and seeds, and all in moderation.”

    Another really good site, BirdFact, states:

    “Most species of geese are omnivores, but their diet mainly consists of plant matter, particularly seeds, grass, roots, grains, bulbs, berries and aquatic plants.”

    “Some species, such as Canadian geese, are herbivores.”

    “When geese consume grass, they’ll also likely be looking for roots, seeds and bulbs which have higher nutritional content than grass alone. Whilst geese likely aren’t searching for live insects; they’d probably not be too concerned about scooping up the occasional beetle or small worm whilst feeding.”

    [https://birdfact.com/articles/what-do-geese-eat]

    So much information on these sites!

    Please visit them. 

    The over-use of glyphosate based herbicides (GBH) eradicates targeted vegetation by specific distribution – surrounding the base (bole, stem) of every tree across Park landscapes – the emergent vegetation, and natural diet, of wild ducks and Canadian geese in Spring, at Sacramento Area Parks, of which the same trees, contribute significantly to the UTC, or Urban Tree Canopy, of Sacramento

    Data-Source Links:

    [https://www.natureinflight.com/what-do-wild-geese-eat/]

    [https://birdfact.com/articles/what-do-ducks-eat]

    [https://www.thespruce.com/what-to-feed-ducks-386584]

    [https://www.atshq.org/what-do-ducks-eat/]

    Copyright Disclaimer

    By invoking the ‘Copyright Disclaimer’ Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.”

    § 107. Limitations on exclusive rights- Fair use: Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    If you or anyone wish to use copyrighted material from this article for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

    Tom DiFiore

  • Springtime In Sacramento, Time To Spray Parks

    It’s spring time in Sacramento it’s time to spray parks in Sacramento. Why does the city/county prefer to use herbicides and employ poisons rather than employ people? 

    Land Park April 2022

    I lived for a while on 24th Ave, one block from Curtis Park, and I logged more than a few thousand enjoyable miles on morning walks around Curtis Park.

    May 2022
    William Curtis Park, has been sprayed with glyphosate based herbicide.

    Hundreds of Trees were sprayed around their base… seems counterintuitive, and counter productive, when one of the biggest messages during the drought goes something like this:

    “Stress Your Lawn, Save Your Trees”

    “Water reductions shouldn’t come at the expense of trees—that’s a major lesson we learned during the last drought.” Regional Water Authority (an organization representing 20 water suppliers in the Sacramento area) October 2021

    [https://www.ecosacramento.net/2021/10/stress-your-lawn-save-your-trees-local-water-providers-urge/]

    As the drought  continues, there’s a new daily mantra; Save the Trees!

    But apparently, the City of Sacramento Parks Department didn’t get the memo. 

    Curtis Park was sprayed with herbicide around the first week of May, (judging by the condition of the dying vegetation) with the same glyphosate based herbicide (GBH) as William Land Park, which was sprayed April 7, 2022.

    In these times, it is a ridiculous affront to the very services that trees provide.

    And looking back 100 years….

    Sacramento Chamber of Commerce 1920-1930:

    “Trees had become a major icon for the city’s newly emerging image: “The crowning glory that is Sacramento’s, her glorious shade trees, are glorious because the city looks out for them with as much care and anxiety as a fond parent does for her offspring.” (Sacramento Bee 1939)”

    [https://www.fs.fed.us/psw/topics/urban_forestry/products/cufr_20_EM98_19.pdf]

    Today though, trees are treated with herbicide – sprayed around and around, at the base of each and every tree. Sacramento Area Parks seem to have an affliction of ever widening spray barrens under the tree canopy.

    Photos taken at William Curtis Park Thursday morning, May 19, 2022

    One can go to the park, sit on a park bench, and watch the Spring emerging vegetation turn brown and die!

    And most people don’t even know what’s happening, or how these tidy circles under the trees in Sacramento Area Parks occur. I didn’t until recently!

    I feel an urgency to continue to raise awareness to this concern.

    William Land Park, on the other side of Freeport Ave, has a similar contrary approach to the cultural and intrinsic value of City Parks and maintenance of the urban green infrastructure.

    Updated May 29, 2022

    Emergent Vegetation and Forage Opportunities 

    Springtime is a time of new growth, new shoots, emergent vegetation, and newborns. Many forage plants (especially natives) are nutritious, but broad-leafed greens (the kind you and the wildlife probably want to eat) may be targeted for spraying.

    They spray parks in springtime….

    Ducks  and geese like to eat plants, but they especially like to eat them when the plants are young and tender. The bills of Canada geese are adapted for grasping and snipping new shoots of grasses, leaves, and stems.

    There are a wide variety of native plants and non-native plants – called weeds – that ducks and geese will happily manage within a park. And just maybe the waterfowl won’t be so hungry for the cheap white bread fed to them by visitors to Sacramento Area Parks.

    *Clover 

    *Dandelion 

    *Miner’s Lettuce

    *Mugwort 

    *Oxalis

    *Plantain

    *Purple Deadnettle 

    *Purslane – a highly nutritious plant sold at nurseries in the Sacramento area, and found in parks, was written about in the Sacramento Union in 1893.

    *Wild Strawberries – which grow easily in neighborhoods and Parks in the Sacramento area.

    *Wild Violets 

    Ducks need a variety of plants and insects in their daily diets. The compounds in weeds and bugs keep them healthy giving hens the ability to lay nutritious eggs filled with a plethora of vitamins, omegas, and minerals. 

    Ducks forage for slugs along with snails, pill bugs or sow bugs, cabbage worms, and more. When foraging for food among taller, well-established plants, ducks may tend to leave the vegetation alone in preference to the insects. 

    As other community voices in the Greater Sacramento Area have noted:

    “Spring is fast approaching. In the Sacramento Valley, that means the greens are up, trees are flowering, and very soon, young, tender leaves will be found among the vines. Sadly, this time of year is also spray-time for many… Cities and counties, school districts and parks departments, too, begin pest management programs, which often include spraying for insects as well as the plants….”

    [http://www.livingwild.org/spring-blog-posts/urban-wild-sacramento/]

    If it were really necessary to remove the vegetation around the base of trees at William Land Park, or Curtis Park, it could be done by hand. Add up the costs of the spray truck, spray equipment, gas, oil, maintenance, the cleaning required after every use, certification level required for applicator license and storage, PPE, etc., and compare that, to a few hand tools, gloves, and a crew of just a few, who spend the day in Sacramento Area Parks, taking care of the Trees!

    Cultivate Culture and Nurture Nature

    Tom DiFiore

  • Land Park Dust Bowl

    Land Park Dust Bowl

    The Land Park Dust Bowl is just weeks away. Held last year on June 23, 2021 at 8:00 am this year promises to be an even hotter event. Be sure to bring your binoculars, and a mask.

    There’ll be prizes for identifying and tracking the furthest distance of travel of particulate matter in each air pollutant size class, as well as highest (visible) particulate matter count held the longest in suspension, or held aloft for the longest recorded time.

    But seriously… watch this short vid.

    Land Park Dust Bowl

    At just over one minute, this short video starts off with about 50 seconds of the machine driven June Dust Bowl event of 2021, and the remaining approximately 20 seconds is a photo ensemble of the way it was done with one broom and a shovel one month later to the day.

    The story begins on July 5, 2021 when word spread that Parks was going to bring the storm blower to do the culdesac by Holy Spirit School the next morning on July 6, 2021. 

    A new broom was purchased. And in just…

    2 hours the evening of July 5th, and 2 hours next morning… the entire culdesac was clean, and done (before even the cones were placed to block parking along the curb). The steps, and most piles were hauled away. 

    Remaining piles by the intersection at 15th, were then hauled away (again) by hand garden cart and trash cans next morning in one hour – to the pickup container dumpster. The dust created rarely exceeded 8 feet, and was mostly much less.

    Ever wonder where it lands? How far does it travel? What if there is no wind? The City of Trees, has become a landscape of noise and dust storms of airborne pollutants.

    It’s probably just dirt and dust, road film, disc brake wear emissions (particles), dried petroleum residue, microscopic fragments of tire wear, pollen, and the pulverized litter fall from mixed species of plants, some likely to contain various levels of decaying residues of glyphosate (or AMPA) from soil erosion and curbside runoff of herbicide overspray.

    I think of the respiratory tracks of adults and kids, pets, avian lungs, and impacts to squirrels, bees and butterflies too!

    Tom DiFiore


  • Land Park Children’s Learning Center

    Land Park’s Fields of Daisies

    One of the very unique parts of William Land Park is the section where the Deodar Cedars grow, and the Dawn Redwoods, there are Valley Oaks and American Sycamores, Silver Maples, Chinese Hackberry, and American Elms, all in the natural setting of the Children’s Learning Center. 

    They don’t use herbicides here around the trees. The grasses and the flowers – the daisies, they grow right up to the base of the trees. 

    William Land Park is such a beautiful park!


    On the other hand, overuse of Glyphosate Based Herbicides at Land Park, and other urban public spaces, has long term consequences that are just beginning to be understood by researchers. 

    I can say unequivocally that there is increasing use, simply put, “overuse” of glyphosate based herbicides (Ranger Pro – the generic Roundup, or roundup lite – as it is affectionately known within the industry) at Land Park because I was there the day of the Spray, April 6th, 2022.

    The square footage of herbicide sprayed soil surface area around trees and along curbs and roadways is growing, widening as can be seen in the videos and photos on this blog.

    How Much Herbicide Is Enough?

    This 36 second video clip begs to ask, how much is enough? 

    While showing both the volume and the amount of time required for the application of glyphosate based herbicide to even one side, or half of the ground area around the base of one tree, more questions arise: 

    Why so much? Why at all? How many trees total? 

     

    I came to photograph flowers that morning….

    Tom DiFiore

  • Feeding The Ducks At William Land Park 

    Feeding Ducks At William Land Park

    Feeding Waterfowl Nutritious Foods

    I started this list for a friend, and because I often get asked about this.


    The best foods are those that provide the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins the birds need for healthy growth and development. Many of these foods are similar to the natural insects, mollusks, seeds, grains, and plants the birds will forage for on their own. 

    Always avoid any foods that come salted, or with added flavoring, spices, or sweeteners.

    At McKinley Park

    Appropriate signage for Land Park would be very helpful.


    If you’re going to be –
    Feeding Ducks and Geese At Land Park

    Good Nutritious Foods Are Best

    Cracked corn

    Wheat, barley, or similar grains

    Oats (uncooked; rolled or quick)

    Rice (plain white or brown, cooked or uncooked)

    Milo seed

    Birdseed (any type or mix)

    Grapes (cut in half or quartered if very large)

    Nut hearts or pieces (any type but without salt, coatings, or flavoring)

    Frozen peas or corn (DEFROSTED, no need to cook)

    Earthworms (fishing bait or dug from the garden)

    Mealworms (fresh or dried)

    Chopped lettuce or other greens or salad mixes

    Vegetable trimmings or peels (chopped into small pieces)

    Cracked corn consists of corn kernels that have been dried and broken into smaller pieces. Easy to consume, and a favorite among different bird species.

    Peas are another easy option that are quick to come by. Be sure to thaw any frozen vegetables first before feeding waterfowl. (Ducks and Geese)

    Lettuce, goes a long way with ducks. Lettuce leaves can be ripped into smaller pieces and are easy for the ducks to catch and swallow and digest. (Also spinach or kale)

    Instant oats: Uncooked, organic oats are another easy treat for ducks. Use plain oats that aren’t coated with sugar or sweeteners. 

    Rice (cooked or uncooked) is another great option that ducks like, and it’s an easy food to spread around.

    Or one can purchase:

    Seeds: If you can afford to go to a wild bird store or co-op, duck-friendly seeds are an excellent choice.

    Pellets: Pellets are another good choice when it comes to foods that are geared toward a duck’s natural diet. They can be purchased in various sizes and quantities, depending on the type of ducks you plan to feed.

    [https://www.treehugger.com/what-to-feed-ducks-5101525]


    NEVER feed waterfowl onions, garlic, or potatoes….

    Cut The Grapes, Chop The Greens And Chop The Nuts

    For vegetables, the most important consideration is making sure that the bits and pieces you offer are small enough for waterfowl to handle. Ducks and their relatives aren’t great at chewing—while their bills help break down food, they don’t have teeth, at least in the traditional sense. 

    Cut salad greens, vegetable peels, nuts, grapes, and other produce into small pieces before you toss them to these birds.

    [https://www.popsci.com/animals/what-to-feed-ducks/]


    Corn contains vitamins A and C, which work together to maintain the health of the ducks. It also contains calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for a healthy duck’s body and egg quality. 

    Flaxseed is a great option for feeding many waterfowl species. It is non-fat, and does not pose a choking hazard to birds. It is a source of essential nutrients and is highly digestible. These nutty seeds are rich in omega 3 and 6, two essential fatty acids for birds. Wild ducks can benefit greatly from flaxseed in the winter, when they are searching for food in scarce quantities.

    Oats, Steel Cut Oats

    When feeding wild ducks, oats are an excellent choice. The grain is easily digestible by ducks and helps to build their immune systems. Oats are high in manganese, which stabilizes free radicals in their bodies and helps maintain bone health. Oats also contain high amounts of fiber, which ducks like.

    A low-calorie food choice, it is high in protein and vitamins, making it the perfect food to feed wild ducks. Oats are very nutritious, and steel-cut oats, also known as Irish oatmeal, are the least processed and contain high beta-glucan.

    [https://petfood.guide/what-to-feed-wild-ducks/]


    Wild ducks and geese feed on a variety of grains and grasses, aquatic plants, and invertebrates, all naturally found in the wild. When eaten in combination, these foods are nutritionally balanced and provide everything a wild duck or goose needs to survive.

    But, foods often fed to waterfowl in public parks, such as bread, crackers, popcorn, and corn, are low in protein and essential nutrients and minerals (such as calcium and phosphorus).

    Waterfowl in public parks are often admitted to wildlife rehabilitation centers with metabolic bone disease (MBD). Birds with MBD have incredibly soft bones and joints that are often malformed and fractured; these injuries are caused by an overall calcium deficiency in the body, which is linked to an inappropriate diet. 

    Calcium also plays a crucial role in the formation of eggs/offspring, clotting ability, cardiovascular and neuromuscular function, and a variety of other metabolic activities. 

    Allowing ducks and geese to find their own wild, nutritionally balanced diet is best – for the health of waterfowl and the surrounding environment.

    Some foods that mimic the waterfowl’s natural diet – greens and insects are: Chopped up greens like kale, collards, and dandelion greens (only from pesticide-free yards) are the most nutritious. 

    Ducks and geese eat insects too, so a special treat of mealworms or freeze-dried crickets would also likely be enjoyed!  

    But the bottom line is that wild ducks and geese should be able to find plenty of food on their own – so if you can resist the temptation to feed, simply pack your binoculars and camera and enjoy watching the birds.

    [https://www.wildlifecenter.org/problem-feeding-ducks]

    There you have it.

    Adapted data, source linked.

    There are a dozen goslings in this photo taken May 1, 2022.

    The latter part of April and into May are the seasonal times of ducklings and goslings at Land Park. They live in groups called gaggles! Please be respectful of their family space and keep dogs on their leash close by you!


    Updated May 29, 2022

    Emergent Vegetation and Forage Opportunities 

    Springtime is a time of new growth, new shoots, emergent vegetation, and newborns. Many forage plants (especially natives) are nutritious, but broad-leafed greens (the kind you and the wildlife probably want to eat) may be targeted for spraying.

    They spray parks in springtime….

    Ducks  and geese like to eat plants, but they especially like to eat them when the plants are young and tender. The bills of Canada geese are adapted for grasping and snipping new shoots of grasses, leaves, and stems.

    There are a wide variety of native plants and non-native plants – called weeds – that ducks and geese will happily manage within a park. And just maybe the waterfowl won’t be so hungry for the cheap white bread fed to them by visitors to Sacramento Area Parks.

    *Clover 

    *Dandelion 

    *Miner’s Lettuce

    *Mugwort 

    *Oxalis

    *Plantain

    *Purslane – a highly nutritious plant sold at nurseries in the Sacramento area, and found in parks, was written about in the Sacramento Union in 1893.

    *Wild Strawberries – which grow easily in neighborhoods and Parks in the Sacramento area.

    *Wild Violets 

    Ducks need a variety of plants and insects in their daily diets. The compounds in weeds and bugs keep them healthy giving hens the ability to lay nutritious eggs filled with a plethora of vitamins, omegas, and minerals. 

    Ducks forage for slugs along with snails, pill bugs or sow bugs, cabbage worms, and more. When foraging for food among taller, well-established plants, ducks may tend to leave the vegetation alone in preference to the insects. 

    As other community voices in the Greater Sacramento Area have noted:

    “Spring is fast approaching. In the Sacramento Valley, that means the greens are up, trees are flowering, and very soon, young, tender leaves will be found among the vines. Sadly, this time of year is also spray-time for many… Cities and counties, school districts and parks departments, too, begin pest management programs, which often include spraying for insects as well as the plants….”

    [http://www.livingwild.org/spring-blog-posts/urban-wild-sacramento/]

    If it were really necessary to remove the vegetation around the base of trees at William Land Park, or Curtis Park, it could be done by hand. Add up the costs of the spray truck, spray equipment, gas, oil, maintenance, the cleaning required after every use, certification level required for applicator license and storage, PPE, etc., and compare that, to a few hand tools, gloves, and a crew of just a few, who spend the day in Sacramento Area Parks, taking care of the Trees!

    Cultivate Culture and Nurture Nature

    Tom DiFiore


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    By invoking the ‘Copyright Disclaimer’ Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.”

    § 107. Limitations on exclusive rights- Fair use: Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    If you or anyone wish to use copyrighted material from this article for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

    Tom DiFiore

  • Gluten Free Muffins

    Just a morning whimsy!

    Chartreuse Orange Vanilla Banana Polenta Muffins

    Or, 

    Banana, Apricot, Macadamia GF Muffins

    In Countertop Convection Oven

    With: 

    Raw Macadamia nuts and Dried Apricots (1/2 cup each chopped, diced)

    Banana Smash (4 ripe bananas chopped on cutting board) 

    In large SS bowl, mix well the bananas, 

    Chartreuse a 3/4 shot, 

    2T Vanilla, 1T Orange (extracts) 

    2T Maple syrup, and salt 

    1 egg whisked

    Cinnamon, Allspice, Salt, 

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    Oat flour (use 1/4 cup to separate minced dried Apricots, then another 1/4 cup after addition of chopped Raw Macadamia nuts) toss all, and add to

    1/2 c Oat Flour

    1 c polenta corn grits

    1 c Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour

    Stir and mix well to a muffin batter consistency – thick

    Using a 12 slot Silicone large muffin tray that fit perfectly

    350 degrees little convection toaster oven

    At 20 minutes muffins have risen above top of Silicone form, no color

    After 30 minutes smell so good, done.

    I made this up on the spot and they were delicious, plain or with honey!

    *Green Chartreuse 110 proof

    Enjoy the joy!

    Tom DiFiore