News and Views Around the District
Latest News from NFMAD
April 7, 2020
Due to the current CoVid-19 emergency, the North Fork Mosquito Abatement District is maintaining compliance with all state mandates. This requires operating at a reduced crew level.
What does this mean for the District residents? Every resident MUST police their own property for mosquito activity. Priority is being given to known early activity sites, mainly public areas, irrigated fields, culverts and storm drains, and commercial areas of towns.
NFMAD is severely underfunded, and covers a vast terrain of 50 square miles. The District is surrounded by areas with zero mosquito control. Due to the drought of 2018, last season saw high levels of West Nile virus incidence in humans, mainly in the county, not within the District, however personal protection is essential.
Please use repellents, appropriate clothing, and avoid times of high mosquito activity at dawn and dusk whenever possible. Walk your property and eliminate standing water in tanks, buckets, pot bottoms, bird baths, etc. As the irrigation canals come on, check for leaks, or areas of mud. There are mud hatches happening currently, easily stopped by disturbing the area with a shovel.
Please continue to practice social distancing and stay safe!
The 2019 season has begun!
Physical mitigation of potential and known mosquito-breeding sites is happening all over the North Fork District currently, utilizing burning, track hoe and backhoe, and shovel crews. The drought of 2018, and subsequent use of domestic water as irrigation ditches went off early, revealed many potential previously unknown breeding sites throughout the District. Our crew has been making visual assessments over the 50 square miles of the District, while also working on drainage and site evaluations.
Treatment has begun in known hot spots, in anticipation of warmer weather, despite no evidence of larvae in standing water. It is far too early for trap data to have meaning, until we have higher nighttime temperatures, so feedback from residents is essential to success.
Now is the perfect time to take a look at your home and work areas for standing water, drainage that needs cleaning, low spots in fields, etc. Are you noticing adult mosquitoes? Please let us know. If you need help with looking at your property, please call NFMAD at 970-527-6681 and leave a detailed message. We are currently booking free site evaluations, with openings at various times, Monday through Friday.
Are you having an event this summer? A wedding, family reunion or other gathering of people? Please call and have our Ops Manager, Garrett Park, come and take a look to see if barrier spraying would be helpful.
Given the vast territory of the North Fork District, and our limited funding, NFMAD needs the cooperation and vigilance of all residents! We thank you in advance for all efforts to eradicate mosquito-borne illness in our community.
December 14, 2018: There will be a work meeting for the Operations Committee of the NFMAD Board of Directors beginning at 11am at Rain Klepper’s home. The enlarged maps of the District will be updated with Chris Tschinkel, and we prepare for a new Operations Manager.
The 2018 season comes to a close…
The 2018 NFMAD season was a challenging time for mosquito control, given drought conditions throughout the valley, combined with high temperatures and wildfire smoke. The river was lower earlier than in the previous 40 years, and many of the irrigation ditches ran out of water months before usual time, forcing the high use of domestic water sources, and alternate irrigation methods.
These conditions, combined with infrequent but heavy rainstorms, eliminated many mosquito sources while simultaneously creating others. The North Fork District spans 50 square miles, with a small and insufficient budget for mosquito control, but the program of aggressive physical mitigation of breeding areas over the last 6 seasons has increased the effectivity of the operations program. Added to these issues, more than one third of Delta county has zero mosquito control, particularly the southern and western borders of Hotchkiss, causing adult mosquito pressure around a highly populated area that includes the Delta County Fairgrounds.
Despite these challenges, our crews aggressively treated areas known to hatch mosquitoes throughout the 50 square miles of the District and endeavored to locate and map all new transitional sources. Public reporting helped immeasurably in locating areas previously unknown or newly created. When numbers of adult mosquitoes were identified, those areas were rapidly target fogged, followed by extensive trapping, site evaluation for breeding areas, and larval treatment. As always, public venues were both given priority and barrier treated to keep mosquitoes away during events and gatherings.
West Nile virus (WNV) is endemic in Culex mosquito populations, and this season the virus was extremely virulent. As in prior seasons our unique possession of a RAMP reader allowed us to rapidly identify, target and treat areas of WNV infection, within as little as 4 hours after test results. If initial measures, including extensive trapping, site evaluation, and target fogging, were not immediately successful in eradicating positive WNV readings on the RAMP, the next level of crew response was employed. Any area of continuing positive trap pools was extensively monitored and treated, every 2-3 days. As always, the public was notified to take extra personal precautions to avoid the illness. WNV virulence rises and falls in cycles, and it appears that this was a difficult year for disease control throughout Colorado, and the western United States. Unfortunately, there were several serious cases of WNV infection reported this season in the North Fork Valley. In the past 5 years there have been incidences of high WNV infection in the mosquito population, but no reported incidences of human occurrence, however that is no comfort to those who have contracted the virus or have loved ones who have become ill.
NFMAD will continue to aggressively work to control the mosquito population and strive to increase our effectivity, while respecting both the health of residents and the environment. It is a thin and sharp line to tread as neither mosquitoes nor WNV will be eradicated with current technology. In this agricultural community mosquitoes and water go hand in hand.
Currently, the 2018 six month season for the NFMAD field and laboratory crews has come to an end. The arrival of lower day and nighttime temperatures has all but halted the hatching of juvenile mosquitoes. Our indicator traps thorough out the District no longer catch any mosquitoes, therefore the RAMP reader that enables us to rapidly assess the level of WNV infection in the Culex mosquito population cannot be of use. The public is experiencing few if any mosquitoes, and the Culex mosquitoes nearing dormancy are now less motivated to seek blood in their preparation for hibernation. If you have experienced mosquitoes in your home or outbuildings, please consider calling 970-527-6681 for a nontoxic barrier spray application.
NFMAD is proud to have the support and confidence of the community that we have earned in the last 5 years. We also wish for the renewed health and speedy recovery of those who are have been infected with WNV. Our hearts go out to all the victims of this illness.
There will be an NFMAD Board of Directors meeting on March 12, 2018, beginning at 7pm at the Hive office building.
The draft agenda may be viewed on the Meetings and Financials page.
Delta District #1 has had multiple West Nile virus positive trap pools since early June, and with the concurrence of high temperatures, high persistent humidity, and rainstorms, these mosquitoes may be moving along the river corridor into the North Fork District.
If you live or recreate anywhere from the confluence in Delta all the way east through our District, please, please take precautions at this time, including using appropriate clothing and insect repellent. Remember heightened mosquito activity occurs at dawn and dusk.
A review of various types of repellents for all age groups is available at the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org).
Our crew has been hard at work throughout the District. If you are seeing increased mosquito activity, please report the location to the 527-6681 NFMAD number.
June 7, 2017
Trapping is beginning this week in the North Fork District. High winds and inclement weather, coupled with low nightly temperatures, has delayed the onset of trapping.
With soaring daytime temperatures and the river drying down, the North Fork District has reached peak mosquito hatching season. Small puddles of water can go from egg to flying adult mosquito in 5 days! Please practice extra precautions, and police your property for breeding sites.
All traps have tested negative for West Nile virus thus far, and the crew continues vigilant treatment throughout the District. Please call the number above if you are seeing adult mosquitoes, and thank you!
Zika virus update
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) has released a new figure…1133 US citizens have contracted Zika virus, the majority from traveling overseas, and a small percentage from sexual contact with an infected person.
An elderly woman in Utah has died, however there were major underlying health issues already present. The usual symptoms in a non-pregnant adult include headache, rash, fatigue, and occasionally conjunctivitis (pink eye). The danger for pregnant women remains, with serious birth defects possible after infection.
Thankfully we do not have the species of mosquito, Aedes Aegypti, that carries Zika, as well as Dengue fever. The Aedes Vexans species of mosquito is a common nuisance here in Delta county, but does not carry Zika, West Nile, or Dengue. Aedes Vexans does carry heartworm, mainly affecting dogs and cats. There are preventives available at your vet against heartworm.
If you are traveling to Rio for the Olympics, or to Mexico, Central or South America or Africa, please, please bring appropriate clothes and protective bug juice!!!
Happy July 4th weekend!
Please stay aware of personal protection during the holiday events…many consider this to be the “anti-mosquito control” weekend of the year given large groups of people out at dusk celebrating, wearing shorts and other summer clothing. Use bug juice, watch out for your family, and have a great time!
March 5, 2016
In January and February, NFMAD Board of Directors did not meet in order to save money, however all forms and certifications were filed in a timely manner.
The Board did not receive additional self-nomination forms beyond the current Board members, hence the May 2016 election has been officially cancelled. The three Board members will be considered “elected”, taking the Oath of Office and beginning a new term May 2, 2016.
The NFMAD accountant did not receive her paycheck for January and February, as a result of the Delta County shortfall in mill levy payments and promised financial support. In addition, the Bowie mines have closed, after filing bankruptcy. Robyn was able to stretch the insurance and other early year payments, in addition to not drawing her salary, avoiding the need for a bank line of credit or loan. NFMAD is starting the year with a $7000 shortfall, and appropriate steps are being taken to further tighten the budget and obtain grants and donations.
The Worker’s Compensation insurance purchased through the Special District Association increased precipitously after a reclassification of NFMAD as “irrigation and water workers” vs. “pest management and control”. A formal complaint has been made to the Colorado Insurance board, however no help will be forthcoming since SDA is a “liability pool” not an actual insurance company. Research into other possibilities continues.
Chris Tschinkel attended a meeting of the Monitor water company in Pumpkin Hollow Rd area, with an overview map and plan for physical mitigation of mosquito breeding areas. Despite aggressive treatment and excellent results in 2015, this area is at the top of the list for physical mitigation in order to decrease product and payroll expenditures.
The 2016 season officially begins in April, however physical mitigation projects will be occurring in March, particularly in areas affected by irrigation water. Doug Fritz, the chief of the Hotchkiss Fire Department, has been contacted for potential fire mitigation projects.
Zika Virus Epidemic!!!
Zika is carried by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, also the carrier of Chikungunya and Dengue fever illnesses.
DO NOT travel to South America, Central America, Mexico, or tropical areas bordering the United States if pregnant, or considering a pregnancy in the next 6 months. The CDC and WHO have declared a state of emergency, and airlines are refunding and re-booking tickets.
Below is an explanation for this sudden outbreak of Zika…Brazil released genetically-modified male mosquitoes to control Dengue fever, BUT the “kill switch” only works if not in the presence of tetracycline, an antibiotic frequently used in livestock and animal foods! Basically the GM so-called killer mosquitoes have now created ground zero for a Zika plague.
“Zika seemingly exploded out of nowhere. Though it was first discovered in 1947, cases only sporadically occurred throughout Africa and southern Asia. In 2007, the first case was reported in the Pacific. In 2013, a smattering of small outbreaks and individual cases were officially documented in Africa and the western Pacific. They also began showing up in the Americas. In May 2015, Brazil reported its first case of Zika virus — and the situation changed dramatically.
Brazil is now considered the epicenter of the Zika outbreak, which coincides with at least 4,000 reports of babies born with microcephaly just since October.
When examining a rapidly expanding potential pandemic, it’s necessary to leave no stone unturned so possible solutions, as well as future prevention, will be as effective as possible. In that vein, there was another significant development in 2015.
zika-microcephaly-300x193Oxitec first unveiled its large-scale, genetically-modified mosquito farm in Brazil in July 2012, with the goal of reducing “the incidence of dengue fever,” as The Disease Daily reported. Dengue fever is spread by the same Aedes mosquitoes which spread the Zika virus — and though they “cannot fly more than 400 meters,” WHO stated, “it may inadvertently be transported by humans from one place to another.” By July 2015, shortly after the GM mosquitoes were first released into the wild in Juazeiro, Brazil, Oxitec proudly announced they had “successfully controlled the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads dengue fever, chikungunya and zika virus, by reducing the target population by more than 90%.”
Though that might sound like an astounding success — and, arguably, it was — there is an alarming possibility to consider.
Nature, as one Redditor keenly pointed out, finds a way — and the effort to control dengue, zika, and other viruses, appears to have backfired dramatically. ”
And another quote from the article detailing the use of tetracycline:
“The particular strain of Oxitec GM mosquitoes, OX513A, are genetically altered so the vast majority of their offspring will die before they mature — though Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher published concerns in areport in September 2010 that a known survival rate of 3-4 percent warranted further study before the release of the GM insects. Her concerns, which were echoed by several other scientists both at the time and since, appear to have been ignored — though they should not have been.
Those genetically-modified mosquitoes work to control wild, potentially disease-carrying populations in a very specific manner. Only the male modified Aedes mosquitoes are supposed to be released into the wild — as they will mate with their unaltered female counterparts. Once offspring are produced, the modified, scientific facet is supposed to ‘kick in’ and kill that larvae before it reaches breeding age — if tetracycline is not present during its development. But there is a problem.
According to an unclassified document from the Trade and Agriculture Directorate Committee for Agriculture dated February 2015, Brazil is the third largest in “global antimicrobial consumption in food animal production” — meaning, Brazil is third in the world for its use of tetracycline in its food animals. As a study by the American Society of Agronomy, et. al.,explained, “It is estimated that approximately 75% of antibiotics are not absorbed by animals and are excreted in waste.” One of the antibiotics (or antimicrobials) specifically named in that report for its environmental persistence is tetracycline.
In fact, as a confidential internal Oxitec document divulged in 2012, that survival rate could be as high as 15% — even with low levels of tetracycline present. “Even small amounts of tetracycline can repress” the engineered lethality. Indeed, that 15% survival rate was described by Oxitec:
After a lot of testing and comparing experimental design, it was found that [researchers] had used a cat food to feed the [OX513A] larvae and this cat food contained chicken. It is known that tetracycline is routinely used to prevent infections in chickens, especially in the cheap, mass produced, chicken used for animal food. The chicken is heat-treated before being used, but this does not remove all the tetracycline. This meant that a small amount of tetracycline was being added from the food to the larvae and repressing the [designed] lethal system.
Even absent this tetracycline, as Steinbrecher explained, a “sub-population” of genetically-modified Aedes mosquitoes could theoretically develop and thrive, in theory, “capable of surviving and flourishing despite any further” releases of ‘pure’ GM mosquitoes which still have that gene intact. She added, “the effectiveness of the system also depends on the [genetically-designed] late onset of the lethality. If the time of onset is altered due to environmental conditions … then a 3-4% [survival rate] represents a much bigger problem…”
As the WHO stated in its press release, “conditions associated with this year’s El Nino weather pattern are expected to increase mosquito populations greatly in many areas.”
Incidentally, President Obama called for a massive research effort to develop a vaccine for the Zika virus, as one does not currently exist. Brazil has now called in 200,000 soldiers to somehow help combat the virus’ spread. Aedes mosquitoes have reportedly been spotted in the U.K. But perhaps the most ironic — or not — proposition was proffered on January 19, by the MIT Technology Review:
An outbreak in the Western Hemisphere could give countries including the United States new reasons to try wiping out mosquitoes with genetic engineering.”
January 2016: News and Notes on NFMAD
In November and December 2015, the NFMAD Board meetings were cancelled to both save time and money.
September 30, 2015 was the end of the seasonal employment for the full crew, with the exception of the Operations manager, Chris Tschinkel. All product was moved to the Paonia County Road Shed for winter storage. Equipment had been winterized and decommissioned at the end of September, except for the spray unit mounted on Zach Hotchkiss’ ATV (personally owned by Zach). A final targeted spray in limited areas occurred on October 11, 2015.
All budgetary forms and filings were completed early, and posted at places of announcement, and the Delta County Independent. Mill levy certification occurred in early December.
Unfortunately, despite the Board of County Commissioners promise of “double the town of Hotchkiss donation”, a check was not received for $3000. The town of Hotchkiss donated $1500 literally the morning after the town council meeting, yet despite repeated phone calls and requests, the BOCC did not keep their promise. In November, we were informed the BOCC would match the $1500 of Hotchkiss, but again, the check did not arrive. In December, after more communication, the check had still not arrived, and our accountant went to the office of the BOCC and picked up a $1200 check on January 4, 2016. Since the promised $3000 was reduced to $1200 months later, the NFMAD Board of Directors has been forced to withdraw from completion of physical mitigation projects for fall of 2015 and spring 2016.
Further, the mill levy amounts due NFMAD for December of $4889 was reduced to $958 for some inexplicable reason.
Needless to say, this has put the District in a financial crisis for both the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, with a total of $5700 in promised funds that have failed to appear.
We are currently seeking a line of credit at First State Bank of Colorado in order to pay the bills of the first quarter, which include yearly Worker’s Comp premiums and other large bills. This is costing extra money in interest charges and other fees, which are expenses that are not in the budget.
NFMAD Board of Directors over the last three seasons has streamlined every aspect of this District, while also providing excellent mosquito control. This has included cancelling the landline telephone, internet, and minimizing all utilities, as well as seeking outside funding and donations to maintain service.
The District was surrounded by high levels of mosquito presence and illness in other Districts, yet NFMAD was kept under tight control by using our evidence-based Operations approach, literally draining all reserve funds.
The next NFMAD Board of Directors meeting is Monday, August 17, 2015 at the Hive NFMAD office beginning at 7pm.
Delta District #1 has had a positive West Nile virus PCR test for a 6 trap pool collected on July 28, 2015.
The NF District 18 traps continue the week of August 3rd to test negative on RAMP. Please protect yourself and your family, particularly at dusk, outdoors.
Draft Bylaws 2015 A full pdf of the Draft 2015 Amendments to the NFMAD Bylaws is linked here, with final approval scheduled for the August 17, 2015, regular Board of Directors meeting, beginning at 7pm at the Hive NFMAD office.
As reported in the periodical, “The Week”, Consumer Reports now rates the Sawyer Fisherman’s formula containing Picaridin, MORE effective than DEET in extensive testing.
DEET, despite being the “go to” chemical insect repellant, can cause rashes and even seizures in high concentrations, and is not safe for children under the age of 5 in any concentration, according to the CDC.
And the second highest in the same Consumer Reports? An All Natural REPEL Lemon Eucalyptus oil spray, that gives protection against mosquitoes and deer-tick nymphs for 7-8 hours.
Both products are available through Amazon.com, Walmart, and the other box stores.
If DEET is still your repellant of choice, there are safer, wipes called, “Ben’s Tick and Insect Repellant Wipes”, that are mild but effective. The allow a specific application of the solution without spraying most of the product into the air (and your lungs!)
NFMAD Board of Directors meeting is July 20, 2015, beginning at 7pm, at the NFMAD Hive building office in Paonia. Agenda was posted last week on (www.test.nfmad.org) and sent to places of announcement including the town halls of Paonia, Hotchkiss, the Paonia library, and the Hotchkiss Delta County Annex
June 15, 2015
With continued rainfall and hot temperatures, mosquitoes are breeding in literally any standing water….a hoof or boot print, flower vases, pot bottoms, birdbaths, as well as flooded fields. The crew is hard at work, with additional hired help, treating swampy areas and flooded fields, so please, please police your own property. In addition, use mosquito repellant if you must be out at dusk, particularly by the river or creeks.
Wednesday night, June 17, 2015, there will be targeted spraying in the Lund Rd., Coburn Rd., and Bell Creek Rd. areas.
June 11, 2015
The next NFMAD Board of Directors Meeting will be Monday evening, June 15, 2015, beginning at 7pm at the NFMAD office at the Hive building, Paonia.
Spray Notice for June 11, 2015 to June 13, 2015, depending on weather and wind conditions:
**Due to trap evidence, historical data, upcoming events, and threshold factors, the following areas of Hotchkiss will be target sprayed on Thursday evening, June 11, 2015, likely beginning at 7:30-8pm, weather-permitting. If rained out, or high winds occur, the same areas will be targeted on Friday evening. Please clear public areas by 7:30 pm, and thank you!
Zack’s BBQ area
Delta County Fairgrounds
Short Ditch Rd. area
Old Water Treatment Plant
Lower Hansen Mesa Rd area
Possibly Willow Heights Park area, but this will be a barrier spray
Various private land areas, not within 200 feet of a neighboring boundary
Chris Tschinkel and the crew are working hard all over the North Fork District using various forms of physical mitigation to open up drainage, remove beaver dams, clear out irrigation water pathways, etc., all to avoid potential mosquito breeding habitat formation. Some of these areas are well known hotspots from previous seasons, problems observed over the course of treatment and surveillance, or new findings as the crew continues to search for the causes behind adult mosquito hatches.
Physical mitigation is done using backhoe, track hoe, and shovel crews, along with the trapping and relocation of animals such as beavers. How is your property? NFMAD Field manager, Chris Tschinkel, is available to evaluate your site, to assess the best possible approach to decreasing mosquito breeding habitat while keeping the free flow of water moving off the mesas and heading back to the river.
Call the NFMAD voicemail line, 970-527-6681 to schedule with Chris.