County rounding up help to ‘fight the bite’
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Even though influenza is the disease-du-jour, area health officials haven’t forgotten about the dreaded West Nile Virus.
To prepare for the 2004 mosquito season, Garfield County weed management director Steve Anthony is synchronizing mosquito identification, education and eradication efforts in Garfield County and its six municipalities.
Anthony is slated to ask the Glenwood Springs City Council on Thursday to partner in this effort.
“We’re working on a partnering program to get on the same page,” Anthony said. “We feel we could possibly have a severe year next year like the Front Range did this year.”
Two people caught West Nile Virus in Garfield County in 2003, but there were a slew of dead birds across the county that tested positive for the disease, Anthony said.
Statewide, there were 2,745 cases of West Nile Virus and 52 deaths attributed to the disease, according to Fight the Bite Colorado, a Web site with information on the illness.
Glenwood Springs Parks and Recreation director Bill Efting forwarded a memorandum on Anthony’s proposal directly to City Council so they could decide how to answer.
“I think what we want to do is listen to what Steve Anthony has to say,” Efting said.
According to Anthony’s memorandum, the Garfield County Commission plans to bear 70 percent of the cost of hiring Broomfield-based Colorado Mosquito Control, or $70,000 out of a total cost of $100,000.
The rest, Anthony hopes, will be split between Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Silt and Rifle.
“We’re trying to have it split up evenly,” he said.
To make the cost share equitable, the square mileage of each municipality’s populated areas was calculated. The cost winds up at $2,000 per square mile.
In the case of Glenwood Springs ” which has about four square miles of populated area ” Anthony is looking for $8,000.
The city of Rifle, which is more spread out, will be asked to pay $11,220.
How the program works
Anthony said rather than being a spray-heavy mosquito program, Colorado Mosquito Control relies on mapping information, monitoring potential mosquito breeding sites, then spraying only when absolutely necessary.
“They’ll come in real early and look at maps and aerial photos,” he said. “They’ll meet with the staffs of the county and the cities. Then they’ll start mapping out where some of that stagnant water is.”
Using this information, the company will pay special attention to wet areas where mosquitoes can breed.
The company also will trap mosquitoes and check if they’re culex tarsalis, the species of mosquito known to carry West Nile Virus.
“If we identify it in those areas based on trapping and testing, you’ll concentrate on those areas,” Anthony said.
If culex tarsalis is found in an area, some spraying could occur. If the skeeters are found on private property, the company’s policy is to call the landowner to ask permission to spray.
“As far as geography, we’re looking at covering 50 miles,” Anthony said.
Anthony said so far, all municipalities that were asked to join the partnership have been receptive.
“We have to prepare for it,” he said. “The indications are that it’s here and I’m confident that we’re doing the best thing we can to control it.”
Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511
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