By Kate Bradshaw | Special to the Almanac
The Menlo Park City Council unanimously adopted revisions to the city's Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy last night, including implementing a pilot program at four city parks to eliminate all herbicide use and authorizing the city manager to release a request for proposals to determine the cost viability of making all parks in Menlo Park herbicide-free.
The pilot program would be conducted at Bedwell Bayfront, Fremont, Willow Oaks and Stanford Hills parks.
Mayor Catherine Carlton proposed two amendments to the proposal that were adopted by the council: eliminating the use of systemic pesticides and discontinuing the use of baited rat traps. Ms. Carlton explained that there have been cases in which poisoned rats have then poisoned other potentially endangered predators.
"The poisoned rats are getting into the ecosystem and poisoning birds and bobcats and endangered species," she said.
She suggested using alternative "zap" traps to address rat problems, which contain the deceased rat's body and prevent its ingestion by other scavengers.
Heather Abrams, environmental programs manager for the city, shared a list of systemic pesticides currently in use. These, she had been assured by staff, could be eliminated without issue, including a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids that have been linked to honey bee die-offs.
The council also authorized the city manager to seek bids from landscape contractors to maintain all of the city's parks without herbicide use to see if that option is cost-feasible.
With Mayor Carlton's amendments, the motion passed unanimously.
● Earlier story: Can Menlo Park afford to make city parks herbicide-free?