DEM will review use of Roundup along Blackstone River Bikeway

DEM will review use of Roundup along Blackstone River Bikeway

Officials from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management say they’ll review use of the weed killer Roundup along the Blackstone River Bikeway, after a Lincoln resident produced photos showing extensive dead plant life.

LINCOLN – The Blackstone River Bikeway is designed as a place where humans and nature can coexist, say those who often use the path. Sometimes, though, it appears that the humans would prefer to have it all to themselves.

Officials from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management say they’ll review their use of herbicides along the Blackstone River Bikeway after a frequent bicyclist provided The Breeze with photos showing long swaths of dead plant life. Those responsible for maintaining the bike path kill off plant life every summer, said the Lincoln resident, who asked not to be named.

“No one goes out there with a trimmer or weed whacker to cut back the undergrowth,” he said. “They come once a year and douse everything growing within 4 feet of the bike path with some extremely potent chemical that kills everything it touches.”

The resident, who frequents the portion of the bike path from Albion to Woonsocket, said he sees ducks, geese, swans, blue herons, and turtles on his rides.

“I cannot believe they are spraying a chemical this harsh within feet of the Blackstone River itself, and where thousands of locals come to recreate and walk with their children and pets, and to cherish nature,” he said.

Emily Lynch, internet communications specialist with RIDEM, told The Breeze that the RIDEM’s Division of Agriculture Pesticide Program, “as a matter of course, when concerns are raised,” will review the work along the Lincoln bike path “to ensure it adheres to state and federal standards, which it will do in this case.”

RIDEM uses an herbicide approved by the Environmental Protection Agency to “control invasive weeds that can obstruct users’ line of sight on the path and cause safety concerns,” said Lynch. Commonly known as Roundup, the chemical also helps prevent the growth of harmful plants, such as poison ivy, she said.

Parks staff who hold commercial applicator licenses are tasked with applying the Roundup twice each year along the Blackstone River Bikeway, said Lynch.

“When applied correctly, this product has little to no effect on wildlife or nearby water bodies,” she said.


Roundup, aka glyphosate, was just this year proven in scientific studies to cause cancer. It is also the chemical that is used in making GMO seeds - genetically modified foods have the glyphosate DNA inserted within them. Non-GMO foods are the only foods that are free from having been altered to include glyphosate inside their gene structures. If you are eating GMO foods, you are eating this pesticide.

Cummom, while I share your concern on pesticides being used by the Bikeway and any potential environmental contamination, I'm afraid you may have some misinformation. I'd like to pass on a reference to clarify your inaccurate statement about "inserting glyphosate DNA".
Please refer to the article published in the Penn State College of Agricultural Science Magazine titled "The Science of GMOs". There is a lot of hype out there on the internet on this topic and not all is based on accurate information.
Also, there are different formulas of herbicides made by Roundup, not all contain glyphosate. I have no clue what was used in this instance and await DEM's information.