The City of DuPont is looking into alternative ways to maintain landscaping. Public Works is currently developing an Integrated Pest Management Policy. This process will be completed in November 2020 and will include input from the City agencies, Council, and the public.
While parks and greenways are valuable assets to any city, the fact is that they are artificial environments and may not contain the natural defenses to pests which plants benefit from in their natural habitats. These pests can take the form of invasive weeds, fungal or bacterial diseases, insects, animals or birds. If established, these pests can have a severe impact on the health and appearance of a city’s landscaping.
Beyond just the considerations of the city’s plantings, there are state and county regulations which require us to control noxious weeds that cannot be eliminated by cultural, mechanical, or biological means.
What is Integrated Pest Management?
An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan has been repeatedly demonstrated as the safest, most effective, and most cost-effective way to maintain the health of a city’s parks and greenways. IPM prioritizes a non-chemical approach to control pests, using such techniques as careful selection of plant material, the use of mulch to reduce weeds, and using non-chemical techniques to control weed growth. In IPM, pesticides – herbicides, insecticides and fungicides – are used sparingly and only as a last resort. When used, pesticides are applied only by trained professional staff and only in specifically designed places.
How can a city ensure pesticides are being used safely?
- Pesticides must be used only in accordance with the instructions on the manufacturer’s label and/or Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
- Pesticides can be applied only by trained and appropriately licensed applicators. At this time, 4 Public Works staff members are Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) licensed applicators and are well qualified to safely apply herbicides. A 5th staffer will be licensed within 6-months.
- Pesticide applicators must always wear protective clothing as prescribed by the manufacturer’s label and/or SDS.
- Areas where pesticides have been applied must be well posted to advise the public that the area has been treated.
Does the City of DuPont use pesticides? And if so, where?
Where cultural, mechanical or biological controls would not be effective, the City does employ pesticides when it becomes necessary. The areas in which pesticides may be used include:
- Shrub beds
- Landscape restoration projects
- Gravel paths and hardscapes
- Right-of-ways and roadsides
- Street tree nursery
Is there a health risk with the use of Roundup herbicide?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found through an independent evaluation of available data that there are no risks to public health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label and that glyphosate is not a carcinogen.
For more information visit: https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/glyphosate
Are there alternatives to the use of Roundup/glyphosate?
Because glyphosate was – over several decades – proven to be so much more effective and economical than any other chemical options, there are no alternative chemical products available at the present time. The only alternatives for pest control are those listed before it in priority, cultural, mechanical and biological.
Given the possibility that Roundup/glyphosates may yet be shown to hazardous, does the City plan to change any of its procedures?
- Establish an IPM committee which will include any City department whose duties may include land management functions.
- Direct that the IPM committee formalize and publish an IPM plan.
Integrated Pest Management Press Release (PDF)