During the summer of 2013, Bandon, Oregon was swamped with mosquitos–literally.
As part of a large tidal marsh restoration project, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) had recently re-engineered channels to make sure that areas inundated by high tides would drain as the tide went out, but these channels proved insufficient for several areas of marsh, which promptly became massive breeding grounds for at least five species of mosquitos. The pests became such a problem that the county health director had to issue a health alert and nearby residents were miserable.
During Jeff Merkley’s annual town hall in Coos County, Jeff heard testimony from local residents about the swarms of mosquitos and even saw footage of bags full of mosquitos that had been caught. Soon after, he wrote a letter to the USFWS asking that they not only dig additional channels to address the problem, but also to compensate Coos County for the cost of immediate abatement to get rid of the mosquitos. This was a significant relief to the county, which was not financially prepared for such a burden.
Without the help of Jeff and Congressman Defazio who also stepped up to ask the USFWS to take immediate action, the situation in Bandon could have only gotten worse. While there are still steps that must be taken to ensure the new channels are dug correctly so the marsh is restored and the mosquitoes no longer have a place to breed, Senator Merkley was pleased to help the local community get some relief from a very bad situation last summer.