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Application for Municipality Opt-Out of SRMCB Spraying

Overview of process by which municipalities can submit an alternative mosquito management plan, required for a municipality to opt-out of spraying conducted by the State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board.

​​​​​​​UPDATE: The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs completed its review of applications for the 2021 season, and decisions were announced in July. This program is now closed for 2021 season. Guidance will be forthcoming for the 2022 season. If you have any further questions, please direct them to EEAopt-out@mass.gov.

 

Table of Contents

Overview of Process

M.G.L. Chapter 252, Section 2A(b)(2) allows a municipality to opt out of spraying, either aerial or other mosquito control spraying, conducted by the State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board (“SRMCB”) conducted under M.G.L. c. 252, Section 2A(a). For the SRMCB to recognize a municipal opt out, the municipality must first have an alternative management plan (“Plan”) approved by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (“EEA”). In accordance with the M.G.L. c. 252, Section 2A(b)(2), EEA has developed the following guidance on the development and approval of a Plan.

The following steps must be completed by the municipality prior to submitting a Plan to EEA for its review:

  1. The municipality must hold a meeting of the City Council or Select Board, at which a vote must be taken indicating the municipality’s intention to opt out of spraying (including aerial or other mosquito control spraying) conducted by the SRMCB.
  2. This meeting should include input on the Plan from the local board of health and allow for public comment.
  3. The vote should include the following:
    1. The date and time of the public meeting
    2. That the board of health was consulted;
    3. That public comment was allowed;
    4. Whether the municipality is opting out of all spraying or only certain spray activities, such as aerial spraying. If a vote does not include that it is for a specific type of spraying, the vote will cover all spray activities conducted by the SRMCB under M.G.L. c. 252, Section 2A; and
    5. That the vote to opt out will only be honored if an alternative mosquito management plan is submitted and approved by EEA.
  4. The municipality must provide a copy of the certified vote as part of the application for approval of a Plan.
  5. The municipality must complete this application for approval of a Plan and submit it to EEA at the following address: EEAopt-out@mass.gov
  6. All applications must be received by May 28th of the year for which the request is being made.
  7. This process applies only to municipalities. Any other requests to opt out of spraying or exclude private property must be made in accordance with M.G.L. c. 252 or 333 CMR 13.00. More information on these options is available on the SRMCB web page: How to Request an Exclusion or Opt-out from Wide Area Pesticide Applications

 

Important notes:

  • For an alternative mosquito control management plan to be considered complete, the minimum requirement is a detailed public outreach and education component
  • A Plan must be approved in order for the SRMCB to recognize any municipality’s request to opt out of spraying.
  • Approval of a Plan does not extend to any spraying conducting by a mosquito control project or district (“MCD”) of which a municipality may be a member. Any questions related to services provided by an MCD should be directed to its attention.
  • A Plan shall be effective from the date of approval through December 31st of the year in which it was approved.

Application Details

By May 28, 2021, municipalities must send the following items as an email attachment to EEAopt-out@mass.gov

  1. Confirmation of certified vote, including:
    1. The date and time of the public meeting;
    2. That the board of health was consulted;
    3. That public comment was allowed;
    4. Whether the municipality is opting out of all spraying or only certain spray activities, such as aerial spraying. If a vote does not include that it is for a specific type of spraying, the vote will cover all spray activities conducted by the SRMCB under M.G.L. c. 252, Section 2A; and
    5. That the vote to opt out will only be honored if an alternative mosquito management plan is submitted and approved by EEA.
  2. A completed alternative mosquito control management plan application
    Application for Municipality Opt-Out of SRMCB Spraying
  3. For an alternative mosquito control management plan to be considered complete, the minimum requirement is a detailed public outreach and education component

Municipal Opt-Out Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the application process for producing an alternative mosquito management plan as part of the requirement for a municipality to opt out of spraying conducted by the State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board (SRMCB). 

Who approves the application for an alternative mosquito management plan when a municipality requests to opt out of mosquito spraying?
An alternative mosquito management plan (“Plan”), required by M.G.L. c. 252, Section 2A(b)(2), must be approved by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (“EEA”). 

What does having an approved Plan do, and what spraying activities can a municipality apply to opt out of?
A municipality may only opt out of spraying activities conducted by the SRMCB, whether done aerially or by other means, provided it has a Plan approved by EEA. The approval of a Plan means that the SRMCB will not perform any spray activities in that municipality. It does not extend to activities conducted by Mosquito Control Districts (“MCD”) or any spray activities the MCD may perform within a municipality that is a member.

What if the municipality that wishes to opt out is currently a member of an MCD?
Municipalities that are part of an MCD that wish to opt out of spraying conducted by the SRMCB would apply by submitting a Plan for approval as well - there is no separate process. Note that the opt-out request relates to SRMCB activities only, and does not extend to activities conducted by MCDs including any spray activities an MCD may perform within a municipality that is a member.

What is the difference between mosquito control activities conducted by the SRMCB and MCDs?
While MCDs operate under the oversight of the SRMCB, M.G.L. c. 252, and enabling legislation, MCDs conduct year-round arbovirus control operations for their member municipalities. These services include but are not limited to: larvicide treatments (including ground or aerial spraying), adulticide treatments (including ground spraying), public education and outreach, and water and wetland management. Under M.G.L. c. 252, Section 2A, the SRMCB may conduct mosquito control operations under its own authority anywhere in the Commonwealth when DPH has determined there is an elevated risk of arbovirus such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) for that year. In the event that DPH issues a Certificate of Public Health Hazard, the SRMCB has historically responded by conducting aerial spraying of adulticide in limited areas in order to address the arbovirus risk.

If the municipality has an approved Plan, will the municipality be sprayed in the event there is a public health hazard?
No. If EEA has approved a Plan then the municipality will not be sprayed in the event the SRMCB conducts spraying, whether aerial or ground. 

Will exclusion requests submitted by private property owners seeking to be excluded from spraying be honored if the SRMCB decides to spray in response to a public health hazard?
While private property owners may opt out of spraying activities conducted by the SRMCB, or can request to exclude their property from wide-area applications of pesticides, including those performed by MCDs, such requests are not honored by the SRMCB during a certification of a public health hazard. 

What will EEA consider when reviewing a municipality’s application for an alternative mosquito management plan? 
Each municipality’s application will be individually reviewed, with consideration of historical arborvirus risk, the regional impact of excluding the municipality from spraying, and the ability of the municipality to successfully implement an alternative mosquito management plan. 

What are the minimum requirements for an alternative mosquito management plan?
In order for the Plan to be considered, it must contain at a minimum a detailed public outreach and education component. Municipalities should also make sure to provide an appropriate level of detail for any other components of the Plan they intend to provide.

What is the deadline for submission of an alternative mosquito management plan?
The deadline to submit a request is May 28th.

Contacts

If you have any questions, please email EEAopt-out@mass.gov

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