another radnor township mystery

Let’s start with talking about the Little Darby Creek. Little Darby Creek is a tributary of Darby Creek in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and is about 2.6 miles long and runs through Radnor Township.

Little Darby Creek is within the “Piedmont Uplands physiographic province. The Piedmont Uplands section has generally old, hard upland rocks that eroded from the Appalachian Mountains….A masonry arch bridge with a length of 24 feet (7.3 m) carries Darby Paoli Road over the creek and was built in 1840….The drainage basin of Little Darby Creek is a Coldwater Fishery and a Migratory Fishery. It is in approved trout waters. Recently it has been overgrown with kudzu, a high-climbing perennial vine from eastern Asia.”


Little Darby Creek is known as a habitat for freshwater eels, which I think are an endangered species, right?

Here is an old presentation talking a lot about this if anyone is interested:

So why is this important? Well Radnor rents to a farmer. The farmer uses chemicals on his fields and on his crops and I don’t know for sure about engineered seed, but would it surprise anyone since he is NOT an organic farmer? And his crops feed his cattle, right? The fields he rents go down to Little Darby Creek in part, correct? Are their other natural water sources nearby? And if this is public land, can the public access this or anyplace runoff might go?

I touched on this in a post in April.

Now in 2013, Radnor inked a deal to buy 71 acres of Ardrossan for $11+ million. Wheeler Field, Quarry Field, Rye Field. “Everyone loves the cows” was a catchy phrase back then attributed to a commissioner then who is on Delaware County Council now, and some say has higher aspirations still. The farmer is also on two other fields nearby supposedly, correct? Not owned by Radnor Township but old Ardrossan Land?

So there is a farmer farming on the Radnor Township land. That started I guess around 2015 as per an old Patch article? In same family that worked for Hope Scott when it was Ardrossan proper, correct? Main Line Media News reported back then that residents were concerned about chemicals being used on the land. At that time, Main Line Media News quoted Commissioner Elaine Paul Schaefer (now of Delaware County Council):

“I believe a license agreement with the current farmer will be on the agenda for one of our next meetings, so we will have the opportunity to hear resident comment and discuss all the issues involved,” said Schaefer. “The current farmer has been farming the Ardrossan land for over 25 years, and his father farmed it for the generation before him. I believe that most residents would like to see this farmer continue to farm the land, as his very unique operation provides the beloved cows that beautify the landscape. As I understand it, the proposed license will require that the farmer utilize best management practices and adhere to the NCRS (Natural Resource Conservation Service) approved soil conservation plan.”ELAINE PAUL SCHAEFER TO MAIN LINE MEDIA NEWS 3/3/2015

So, I think it’s wonderful part of Ardrossan is still farmed, don’t misunderstand me, but well, what chemicals are being used on the fields? Have they made the reports public on Radnor Township’s official website ever, or do people have to dance with Right To Know forms all of the time? Especially since the farmer who farms there (his farm is called Fern Valley Farm, correct?) also has the cows/steer he tends to, the last of the famous Ayrshire steer, right? So if he is raising feed corn etc. for said cattle, what are they ingesting? Way back when Radnor inked this deal with the farmer, people urged the farmer to be as organic as possible so what today, in 2022 is happening?

Here’s where the latest mystery comes in: why can’t the EAC (Environmental Advisory Committee) discuss an environmental issue? Why were they told they couldn’t discuss the toxic and any chemicals Radnor’s farmer is using on township owned Ardrossan field? Next is it true the chemical report from farmer on chemicals on Ardrossan field owned by Radnor Township include paraquat agent orange? Glyphosate too? Doesn’t field drain to little Darby Creek? And what about protected eels there?

A resident went to the township and provided thoughtful commentary about chemicals used by the farmer in March of 2022:

Although not directly noted (as I do not know how to add the direction arrow to the Quarry Field), between the bottom of the Quarry Field and the boundaries of the Skunk Hollow Community Garden, lies the Little Darby Creek. This creek is a part of the Darby Creek system, is stocked, on an annual basis, with trout for fishing by both adults and especially children, is played in and most importantly, the endangered American Eel has been directly observed moving up through this creek and into the Willows Pond. 

Thus, there are several herbicides delineated to be toxic to fish, to water invertebrates and generally to be avoided.  DEVOUR, by Federal law, is NOT to be used in parks, golf courses and playgrounds – thus, as this field is Township owned, PLU, this herbicide should not be used!

Thank you…. for passing on to me the official records for herbicides applied to the Township-owned property called ‘the Quarry field’, in which the farmer….applies to the field in order to grow a good crop of Corn, that will be fed to his cattle. The records that I have received are from 2016, 2017, 2018, with the note that nothing was grown in the Quarry Field in 2020. What seems to be absent are any records for 2019 and 2021. 

For purposes of review, the principal herbicides applied have been consistent across the time span, including Acuron, Princep, Warrior II, Max Supreme, Abundit Extra, Devour, LamCap II, Gramoxone.

ACURON is a Syngenta product, an herbicide for long-season re-emergent weed control and specifically for Corn. It is a restricted  pesticide/herbicide, and hazardous to the applicator through skin irritation and allergic reaction. This product may damage fertility.  It is a mix of chemicals, including Atrazine. “Research has liked Atrazine to birth defects and cancer in people, and even miniscule doses can chemically castrate frogs. It has been banned or is being phased out in more than 35 countries but is the second-most commonly used herbicide in the United States. “It is known as an Endocrine-disrupting pesticide. “

PRINCEP, aka Simazine, is manufactured by Syngenta, focusing on corn, to address 40 broad-leafed weeds and annual grasses. The chemical is not persistent in soil. It is a restricted -applied chemical, with applicator issues of eye irritation, and a suspected but not proven carcinogen. The MSDS sheets indicated that it is toxic to fish and other water invertebrates. 

WARRIOR II – manufactured by Syngenta US. The primary use is to ‘defeat’ beetles, weevils and borers. This chemical is HIGHLY toxic to bees if directly exposed or if ‘’visiting’ flowers in bloom. P.S. Now being used to address Spotted Lanternfly. 

MAXSUPREME – is a liquid activator adjuvant specifically formulated to maximize herbicide performance for the designated crop. 

ABUNDIT EXTRA/EDGE – a Syngenta product, this is a pre-emergent herbicide, containing Glysophate which is formulated for ‘tolerant corn’. It has acute toxicity as an inhalant. It is noted on the USMS sheets to avoid spillage near water, as it is toxic to water organisms. 

DEVOUR, manufactured by Innvictus Cone, LLC. A highly-toxic, PARAQUAT-based, not selective, broad spectrum herbicide. There are lawsuits moving through the courts to remove this chemical from use, as mis-use of this herbicide  has been proven to cause at 250% increase in the disease Parkinson. 

There is established FEDERAL law that the use of DEVOUR is prohibited in parks, on golf courses and playgrounds!

LAMCAP II – manufactured by Syngenta, a restricted insecticide. This chemical is extremely toxic to fish, aquatic organisms, and toxic to wildlife. Note the MSDS sheets advise to be careful to avoid wet ground, to avoid runoff into water. 

GRAMOXONE SL2.0 – manufactured by Syngenta- A ‘knockdown herbicide. The active ingredient is PARAQUAT [see comments in Devour that relate to Paraquat (and Parkinsonism). Gramoxone is toxic to fish and other water invertebrates. 

To accomplish this research I examined the website for each of these chemicals, focusing on the purpose, usage and any possible toxicity. Since the purchase of sections of Ardrossan by Radnor Township, resulting in an increase of acres of parkland [Public Land Use], means that the resident/owners of this land needs to be protected, as well as the wildlife that inhabits the land and waters. 

~Radnor REsident 3/23/22

So this resident has come to a blogger because she feels she isn’t being heard. She is a senior citizen. Radnor Township had best not entertain any thoughts of retribution, because this person is like family, and not the only people like family I still have in Radnor Township. I have had this commentary for months. I never did anything with it because I just assumed that Radnor would deal with this, not avoid commentary on it altogether. But when watching the EAC meeting recording, I noticed something somewhat terrifying to me: the citizen’s EAC was told not to discuss this and it made me stop and go HUH and isn’t it just bizarre? I mean it’s NO big secret that Radnor Township Commissioner Lisa Borowski (former BOC Prez and Vice Prez) has aspirations and is running for State Rep in the PA 168th, right?

Turn up the volume the Chair woman person doesn’t SPEAK UP

Then look at the rest of the board of commissioners there. Sometimes the Vice President is O.K. but not great, but the President? Still trying to figure out why current Radnor BOC President is there since she doesn’t seem to be in the least impressive. And yes, I am allowed those opinions and I often watch the meetings.

Most of these commissioners don’t remember the bad old days of Radnor (the Bashore years) , long before they paid attention to anything if they were even residents. So these commissioners are run by the current manager and his staff, and why is this manager this way? I ask because as a finance guy, he was quite good, but as the path of least resistance for manager, one word: “MEH”. I can also have that opinion.

I found another report that I am throwing up here for the sake of conversation sort of related. From 2017 a Pollutant Reduction Plan. Has any of that report ever been applied? I don’t know all that is in it, but if anyone is interested, here it is:

Now I also discovered an interesting document pertaining to the farmer and Radnor’s field. I found the resolution that contained the license agreement. Signed by William A. Spingler in 2015. (In 2017 Spingler was sentenced for his disgusting behavior towards a very old woman and a good summary can be found as done by 6 ABC Action news. If you look at the video, you see who his attorney was – another former Radnor Township Commissioner and can you say ick in Radnor politics much? Of course the SAME week Spingler was sentenced ANOTHER Radnor Commissioner was arrested and charged with child porn, Phillip Ahr.)

But I digress.

The agreement signed by this farmer in return for the use of taxpayer owned fields says in part (TYPOS WERE RADNOR’S NOT MINE):

5. Rent/License Fee – Fern Valley shall pay an annual license fee of $1.00 upon approval of this license by the Radnor Township Board of Commissioners. Fern Valley may not assign this license or encumber any portion of the Property without the prior written consent of the Township.

  1. Fern Valley will at all times utilize best management practices in conducting its farming operations and prior to any spraying, Fern Valley shall supply the Township with a copy of all licenses to use herbicides and pesticides. Fern Valley shall only spray such herbicides and pesticides as they are licensed to spray and all spraying shall be conducted by a person who is licensed to spray the herbicides and/or pesticides. Annually, Fern Valley shall provide a schedule of proposed herbicides and pesticides to the Radnor Township Director of Pubhc Works. No chemicals, fertilizers or equipment may be stored upon the property except for equipment and vehicles used to farm the property. No spraying of herbicides or pesticides shall occur within 100 feet of a stream.
  2. This license shall be renewed from year to year unless terrninated by either party. Either party may terminate this license by giving sixty (60) days written notice.
~ RESOLUTION NO. 2015-51

Here is the entire document:

So if the list of chemicals is supposed to be provided, are they regularly available at this point and why can’t the issue be discussed? I still don’t understand what the big deal in Radnor Township’s mind is since that agreement lays out disclosing of chemicals, etc?

So Radnor what about the chemicals? Has that creek been tested regularly? Why are no outside environmental groups involved or are they involved and if so who? Does Trout Unlimited know for example? What does Delaware County say or a state thing like the PA DEP? Why does everything Radnor these days feel like a regression to most unpleasant times?

Radnor if there is NO issue, then PROVE it. And if you are going to have an EAC that can’t discuss certain things, maybe you shouldn’t have one?

Radnor, Radnor, Radnor…your history dictates secrets only stay buried for so long, so why have them?