To all waterfront homeowners in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, let this story be a lesson to you.

A couple in Maine is facing criminal charges and $1.7 million dollars in damages for the use of a harmful herbicide, according to a Boston.com article.

Let's walk this back, because criminal charges and nearly $2 million in damages is a heavy punishment. So who, what, where, why, and when?

Who: Amelia and Arthur Bond. They live full-time in Missouri. However, they also have a Maine home where they spend some of their time (likely in the summer).

What: The neighbors of the Bonds noticed a decline in their Oak trees back in July of 2022. Because of the decline, an arborist was hired to find out what was going on.

"The arborist found evidence of the herbicide Tebuthiuron, as did a Board of Pesticides Control representative who conducted a site inspection," according to Boston.com.

Where: Metcalf Road in Camden, Maine, overlooking Camden Harbor.

Why: The herbicide tebuthiuron is used to control woody vegetation in rangelands, which are large open areas. It is NOT used for residential areas, as it can be detrimental to plants and wildlife.

The hope of the herbicide was to allow the Bond family to have a better view of Camden Harbor. According to the Bond's attorney:

It is my client’s position that the cutting the tops off numerous trees and applying a strong herbicide on her property was admitted to have been done by the Bonds to improve their view of Camden Harbor.

When: The herbicide was initially sprayed in 2021. The result – the decline of the oak trees – did not take place until 2022. The repercussions for the Bond family are all happening now.

Result: According to the Bangor Daily News, the Bonds ultimately faced a $215,200 bill through a consent agreement with the town, plus a $4,500 penalty under an agreement with the state. But that is nothing compared to the $1.5 million the Bonds owe their neighbor, according to the  Penobscot Bay Pilot.

Learn from this mistake. Before spraying any herbicide or pesticide, you must research the legality of it.

There are far stricter rules and laws around coastal areas. Be smart and do the research first. It could end up saving you MILLIONS.

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