According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is:
… an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment. The IPM approach can be applied to both agricultural and non-agricultural settings, such as the home, garden, and workplace. IPM takes advantage of all appropriate pest management options including, but not limited to, the judicious use of pesticides. In contrast, organic food production applies many of the same concepts as IPM but limits the use of pesticides to those that are produced from natural sources, as opposed to synthetic chemicals.
Richmond’s Parks Superintendent Chris Chamberlain and Public Works Director Yader Bermudez developed an integrated pest management policy for City of Richmond employees to use in caring for the City’s parks and landscapes and brought it to the City Council on June 5 as Item J-1. Click below for link to staff report and draft ordinance.
J-1. INTRODUCE an ordinance (first reading) requiring the City of Richmond to manage pests using Integrated Pest Management principles and techniques at City-maintained properties and facilities - Public Works Department (Yader A. Bermudez 231-3008). This item was continued from the May 15, 2012, meeting.
The motivation was not only to help protect the health of residents, employees and the environment but also to bring the City into compliance with the Clean Water Act. The staff report stated:
Current requirements under the City’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (NPDES Permit # 01-024) requires that the City develop and implement a pesticide toxicity control plan to address urban stream impairment by pesticides. In addition the City of Richmond recognizes that there is an ongoing need to manage pests to protect public health and safety, wildlife, our environment and City assets. The establishment of an Integrated Pest Management ordinance will provide definition and guidance surrounding pest control activities on properties owned, managed, and leased by the City of Richmond.
What could be wrong with that? Well, Bates and Booze saw it as a conspiracy to take away people’s Roundup, the infamous weed killer developed by Monsanto. Of course, the new ordinance vested no power in the City to control use of Roundup or any other pesticide by private citizens, but Bates and Booze saw it as an attack on their favorite weed killer and launched into a passionate defense of the chemical followed by the only two votes against the ordinance.
Of late, Bates and Booze have drifted further and further from rational policymaking, routinely finding conspiracies and affronts behind every tree and breaking from the rest of the City Council on 5-2 and 4-2 votes.
Although the item was not a plebiscite on Roundup, the fact is that the safety of Roundup and the unintended consequences of its use on genetically modified “Roundup-ready” crops is the subject of significant controversy, with many credible sources convinced that use of the chemical should at least be reduced if not banned outright. For some examples, see:
Chris Chamberlain explained that with a good IPM policy, the City had many completely non-toxic tools to maintain landscapes and control weeds, including mowing, mulching and torching as well as selecting appropriate landscape plants and managing irrigation. Benign biological weed killers are also available if needed.
Bates and Booze seemed to be concerned that non-chemical weed control would cost more, but Chamberlain assured them that was not the case.
The ordinance passed on a 4-2 vote with Ritterman absent and bates and Booze dissenting.