Reducing Non-Organic Pesticide Use
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Stephanie Katsouleas, Public Works Director
City of Manhattan Beach
Manhattan Beach Commits to Reducing Non-Organic Pesticide Use
in City Parks, Open Space, and Facilities
Manhattan Beach, CA (May 30, 2019) – On May 21, 2019, the Manhattan Beach City Council voted to eliminate the use of non-organic pesticide products in parks and open space by directing staff to implement a new pest management strategy recommended by staff and the Sustainability Task Force. City maintenance crews and contractors will now utilize a combination of organic pest control strategies and products to control invasive weeds, insects and rodents throughout city facilities.
Mayor Steve Napolitano championed the plan to ban pesticides, noting, “Taxpayers don’t want poisons in the environment anymore for the sake of their children, pets, and for their own health. This decision will make a big impact on our community, and to the extent possible make all our lives healthier.”
The City of Manhattan Beach maintains a variety of infrastructure and open space facilities that routinely require pest management. City facilities encompass 48 acres of parkland, the 21-acre Veterans Parkway greenbelt, street and parkway medians, parking lots, downtown and sidewalk streetscape, 43 buildings and structures, the sewer system, and various sports fields. As part of ongoing sustainability efforts and at the direction of the City Council, staff undertook an evaluation of the pesticides, herbicides, and rodenticides (collectively referred to as “pesticides”) currently used throughout the City and investigated a variety of manual and organic alternatives available on the market. With the assistance of the Sustainability Task Force, practices and products were evaluated on their relative efficacy, location, and application potential.
Although staff had discontinued the use of Glyphosate (e.g., Roundup) in parks and open space last summer, they were directed to ban use of all non-organic products in the control of weeds (herbicide) in the City’s parks and open space. Additionally, staff was directed to select plants that naturally repel weeds when replacing landscaping and use manual efforts to trap gophers in parks, sports fields and other open space instead of using rodenticides. Organic products will also be prioritized in City buildings and other facilities to control insects and rodents, and non-organic products will only be considered where pest problems persist and cannot be controlled by organic means. Going forward, the use of non-organic products will only be considered when the public health, animal health and environmental benefits are at risk.
Along with the ban, the City will conduct outreach and education informing residents of the move toward more environmentally-friendly pesticide control strategies, and encourage tolerance for a less manicured, more natural outdoor environment. Staff will periodically review its organic landscaping and maintenance initiatives, compile community feedback and report back to council on the success of these efforts.