April 5, 2012 - City of Boulder launches organic turf and landscape bed program
Shelly Ruspakka, Parks and Recreation, 303-413-7214
Jody Jacobson, Community Planning and Sustainability, 303-441-3122
Sarah Huntley, Media Relations, 303-441-3155
City of Boulder launches organic turf and landscape bed program
The City of Boulderhas launched an organic park turf and landscape bed program at six park locations, at which staff will evaluate the success of the elimination of synthetic chemicals in these areas. The turf on all municipal properties, including parks, has been free of synthetic pesticides since 1999 or before; however, synthetic fertilizers had continued to be used in most parks.
“This is an exciting program for the City of Boulder, as we continue to explore and utilize turf management practices that eliminate the use of synthetic products,” said city Urban Parks Manager Lisa Martin. “This program also furthers the city’s commitment to being a community-wide leader in environmental sustainability.”
The city and the University of Colorado partnered with organic landscape experts to identify areas where each organization could continue to meet pesticide reduction goals while creating healthier turf and landscape beds. Through this process, city parks staff identified six park sites to develop organically-managed landscaped areas that could be evaluated annually to determine the success of the program. The turf and landscape beds areas in these six parks will be free of synthetic “cosmetic” pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
The sites that will be part of the program are*:
- Downtown Municipal Complex (the turf and landscape beds have been 100 percent organic since 2010)
- Greenleaf Park
- Shanahan Ridge Park
- Columbine Park
- Foothills Community Park
- Stazio Sports Field 3
*Natural areas and trees are currently not part of this program.
Soil samples were taken at each site to determine how best to improve the overall soil quality, which improves plant health, and over time, decreases the number of dandelions and other weeds. Methods such as organic fertilizer and compost application, over-seeding and aeration will be used to improve turf quality. The city will be monitoring these sites throughout the next few years to determine if the organic program is improving the soils and decreasing the number of weeds in the park areas. In addition, costs of the additional plant health care practices will be evaluated during this time. Pearl Street Mall and some other park properties are also organic; however, they are not part of this program.
The city also encourages residents to reduce the use of herbicides in their own yards.
“An important goal of the city is to reduce the amount and toxicity of pesticides on municipal properties,” said city Integrated Pest Management Coordinator Rella Abernathy. “We encourage the public to adopt natural lawn care techniques to protect children and pets from the potential adverse health effects of synthetic herbicides and other pesticides. We also want to remind everyone that all of the city’s municipally owned turf areas are free of synthetic pesticides.”
A recent assessment of the city’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program found that Boulder is a national leader in the reduction of pesticides and that few municipalities have achieved the substantial reduction and elimination in pesticides that Boulder has achieved. As part of this evaluation, Boulder has identified some areas of the IPM program that could be improved, including how pesticides are approved for use on public lands.
The City of Boulder is evaluating a variety of options for improving the program and continuing its pursuit of its IPM goals, including minimizing impacts from pest management activities to human health and the environment. Throughout April and into May, the city will be discussing options with advisory boards and City Council.
For more information about the IPM program and to provide feedback on the options, visit www.bouldercolorado.gov/ipm or call Rella Abernathy at 303-441-1901.
For more information about Parks & Recreation IPM activities, go to www.BoulderParks-Rec.org > About Parks and Recreation > Environmental Stewardship.
Last Updated on Friday, 15 June 2012 07:52