What’s all the blue stuff around White Rock Lake?

Photo by Hal Barker
Photo by Hal Barker

Everyday lake users probably have noticed something different about White Rock Lake Park the past couple of days: a strange blue-green dye appearing around some of the trees, parking areas and pavilions.

It’s a chemical, Glyphosate, known more commonly as Rodeo, and it’s the same herbicide the city has been using for at least 10 years to control weeds in the park, says John Jenkins, assistant director of the parks department.

“The only difference this year is that we used a dye,” he says. “It just tracks your spray and makes sure you don’t over-spray. ”

Jenkins says the chemical is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and is no different than what homeowners use on their yards. Some neighbors have expressed concern that the chemical could be harmful to pets and wildlife, but Jenkins says, it’s deemed completely safe to animals and humans.

“Some folks will dispute that,” he says, but it has been approved for waterways and areas like White Rock.

Photos provided by neighborhood activist Ted Barker did alert the city to some other wrongdoing. The worker involved was mixing the chemical with water at an unauthorized location — the Winfrey Point Club House, no less — resulting in some spills and puddles nearby. Jenkins says he’s not aware of that happening before, but action has been taken in this case.

As for the dye, it should dissipate in about two weeks, quicker if there’s a good rain.

“After the first rain fall, it goes away just like that,” Jenkins says.


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  • It’s not an allegation. Nobody disputes that Mark Clayton DOES represent those homeowners, and there’s nothing wrong with saying so.
    Also, it’s worth pointing out that on his Facebook Page, he defended the chemical spill – saying that he felt there was “no significant impact to water quality other than color” to dumping all that pesticide into our lake.
    In truth, that pesticide is a “neurotoxin”, not just a dye – and it’s VERY dangerous. If you believe that’s true, go ahead and drink a big old cup of Round-Up and post an article about what it does to you… if you still have the use of your typing fingers.

  • Sanders, we had this discussion once before, and this is going to be the last time. Quit making allegations without proof, or you will no longer be welcome on this website.

  • Multi-millionaires in lakeside mansions who think the lake is their own, personal, property… and a city councilman who does their bidding.

  • That statement would be a lot easier to believe if it were not made in a discussion about the controversy around it.

  • I like the part where Jenkins says it’s just like the chemicals folks use in their yards.
    How many people here dye their yards blue?

  • The dye doesn’t just “go away”, either. All of it has to go somewhere.

  • Ian Powell

    if one planned on drinking it.This chemical is not controversial.

  • Ian Powell

    Parking lots and paths.

  • Ian Powell

    they are referring to the dye

  • Freddallas

    Well done, Emily! Thanks.

  • wilson!

    If you’ve ever used Round-Up in your yard, you’ve used the same stuff. I’ve seen it on the hike-and-bike trails where vegetation is growing up thru the cracks in the pavement, and along the sides… I and many (most?) of my neighbors do the same thing. As herbicides go, it’s relatively benign to animals and breaks down relatively quickly (compared to other choices).

    The city is missing a source of revenue here. If they skip the herbicide on the parking areas, in a couple years they’ll be covered with “weeds.” At which point the city can begin ticketing parked cars for parking on the grass, right? 🙂

    The real question is whether the city should be using herbicides on the ball fields – I DON’T think that’s ok – too much chance for collateral damage. Or the uninformed application over broad swaths of land. I’m sure we all know someone who applied “weed killer” to their entire yard, only to find it kills pretty much everything, not just weeds…

  • RHolley

    I love how they say “after a good rain, it will just go away”! Wow, it just disappears like magic. Well, don’t we feel better now? This will only hurt for a minute…

  • OakClifftownie

    A weed is just a flower in a place where you don’t want it .

  • Disgusted

    Please call John Jenkins at 214-670-8871 to express your concerns. Follow up with an email so there is documentation of your communication with him. He has a hard time remembering to not destroy nesting areas of federally protected migratory birds during nesting season each year, and he cannot remember the wildflowers around the ballfields just last year. If you have a way of photographing wind speed, do that, too, because the blue poison was sprayed all week during very high winds by a very conscientious, safety-minded dude who smokes a cigar and mixes chemicals with a food service hose.

    We’re dealing with smug clowns here, and it is impacting the safety of our families, our wildlife and our environment.

    The city needs to go organic at White Rock Lake. This is east Dallas, for crying out loud. John Jenkins needs to go over the mishaps at Winfrey Point over the past several weeks. Maniacal mowing, scalp level blade, high winds toxic sprays…

    It almost looks as though the Parks Department is chipping away at Winfrey Point and other areas of the lake to intentionally destroy habitats and make it easier for developers to take more of our precious White Rock Lake Park.

  • Tamie Oxley

    Weeds don’t kill people. Poison kills…well everything. If the powers that be believe that the dangers of spraying are minimal perhaps they would be kind enough to demonstrate their unconcern by allowing their children to play in the sprayed areas. Does the City of Dallas not employ certified Master Gardeners who specialize in organic care? Sadly, wildflowers are being killed instead of weeds. Little nesting killdeer are being displaced as well. Pay attention citizens as such tactics will likely come to park land near you. Especially if the City desires to build a restaurant/bar on it.

  • Carol Bell-Walton

    If you don’t think it will hurt humans or animals, you haven’t ever read the label on a bottle of RoundUp. It’s poison. Thankfully there is an unnatural blue colorant added to let humans know where it is poisoned, but that will run off within two weeks and leech into the ecosystem too. From the RoundUp website:

    CAUTION!
    POISON
    HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED
    HARMFUL IF INHALED
    CAUSES EYE IRRITATION
    CAUSES SKIN IRRITATION
    Potential health effects
    Likely routes of exposure
    Skin contact, eye contact, inhalation
    Eye contact, short term
    May cause temporary eye irritation.
    Skin contact, short term
    Irritating to skin.
    Inhalation, short term
    Harmful by inhalation.
    Single ingestion
    Harmful if swallowed.

    So I say, hogwash Mr. Jenkins. We are glad the Park & Rec department has outed itself with the blue dye used in this controversial toxic spraying. I’ll bet when it is poisoning time next year, dye won’t be used so the Park & Rec Dept won’t have the public flap.

    Carol Bell-Walton

  • Ben S.

    The killing of the Little League wildflowers in the outfields are most noticeable result of the effort to eradicate unwanted vegetation at Winfrey Point this year. Only a tiny 8×8 foot area remains, the rest killed off by intense spraying of weed killer. Doubt me? Go look for yourself. Their spraying killed all the wildflowers. It will take years to rebuild.

    It was one of the most photogenic and widely photographed spots at the lake, the All American past time of Little League with a wide copse of Texas wildflowers bunkered on the outfield hillside. Shame on whoever allowed this to happen.

    I take extreme issue with the application of this herbicide at a natural seep area near the Stone Tables, an 8th magnitude natural seep on the hydrology scale that flows from the hillside in the Peninsula neighborhood to the Stone Tables area. The aquatic plants in there harbor dragonfly larvae and toads. This area was sprayed and it is very unfortunate to lose this small piece of aquatic habitat that is used as an outdoor learning laboratory by a local school.

  • Enough

    Go organic, Dallas. No Monsanto in our parks. Please join SWAN: Safe White Rock Lake Access for Neighborhoods on Facebook.

  • RCOST

    Why do it? It takes about a hundred years for nature to create an inch of top soil. This stuff kills the plants that hold the topsoil, erosion speeds up, lake fills with silt and you know the rest.