Green Zone

Introducing a color-code system to designate pesticide toxicity hazards in city parks, the Santa Barbara City Council adopted its transitional plan for making 98 percent of city parklands pesticide-free, or “green zones.” Parklands mapped as yellow zones indicate the presence of moderately toxic pesticides, while red areas — such as airport runways and golf courses — contain high levels of toxic pesticides. Nineteen of the city’s 49 city parks are currently mapped as green; an additional 20 parks could be re-designated from yellow to green with little difficulty, according to city horticulture officials. Yellow zones presenting particular cultivation and pest-control challenges include the rose garden across from the Santa Barbara Mission. Because green gardening practices are more labor intensive, the council budgeted the addition of one full-time gardener and a part-time coordinator position to oversee volunteer gardeners. The city will provide the public with lists of gardening materials that don’t threaten health or pollute water. Phil Boise, the city’s horticultural consultant, called the system “the missing link in our efforts to crack the hard nut of urban pesticide use.”

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