City Pesticide, Herbicide Use Down

Dry Weather, Alternative Solutions Credited

The use of pesticides and herbicide by City of Santa Barbara employees dropped substantially last year-by 51 percent-due in large measure to lack of rain. Dry weather means fewer weeds and fewer mosquitoes. City Hall initiated an integrated pest management program four years ago as part of a concerted campaign to reduce the use of traditional pesticides and chemical pest control. While there have been great fluctuations in use of pesticides over that time, city hall used just three gallons of Roundup weed killer concentrate last year, as opposed to 48 gallons the city used five years ago. Not all the alternatives-mulch teas, vinegar water, and hot steam among them-are as immediately effective, and the integrated pest management approach has been far more labor intensive-27,000 hours. To help defray the cost associated with that, the city’s parks department is actively seeking volunteers to help keep the weeds at bay. The city enjoys 365 acres of developed parks and they were designed with chemical pesticides in mind. The Parks Department is also attempting to install concrete barriers throughout these parks to control the spread of cultivated grasses, but that is a time consuming, expensive, and gradual process.


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