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Astoria Parks and Recreation implements new guidelines to reduce the use of herbicides in our parks

Wed, Nov 11, 2015

A Plant and Lawn Management Task Force met during the past year to address concerns raised about the use of herbicides and fertilizers in Astoria parks and open spaces. 

The task force, appointed by the City of Astoria Mayor Arline LaMear, visited local parks, athletic fields and the Riverwalk. They also collected feedback from the Parks Department to determine the need and level of use of herbicides and fertilizers to control or eliminate harmful and invasive weeds. The task force submitted recommendations to enhance and develop the parks naturally, while following a sustainable weed management policy.

The new policy, implemented immediately upon City Council approval in October, provides direction and framework for the development of individual park maintenance plans that are specific to each site. This includes identifying desired and unwanted species and non-chemical methods to deter, out-compete, or inhibit harmful weed growth. Additionally, horticultural professionals may be consulted to provide guidance prior to planting new species or significantly altering existing landscapes within the parks.

Community involvement will also be utilized. Mulch donated from local arbor care companies will be used to suppress weed growth in planted beds. Neighborhood groups will be encouraged to adopt parks and volunteer to help with weed eradication in lieu of using herbicides.

“I'm hoping that the implementation of this program will help people to look at what is trying to be achieved by spraying minor weeds,” said Task Force member and horticulturalist specializing in habitat gardens and edible plants, Jessica Schleif. “If there is a time for the use of herbicides in the parks, now there is a protocol in place.”

The use of herbicides will only be used as a final option and will require Parks Director approval. Signs will be posted prior and during the use to ensure the safety of the public.
If you have questions or comments, please contact Jonah Dart-McLean, Maintenance Supervisor at 503-741-1600 or at jdart@astoria.or.us.

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