We’ve been reporting that San Francisco’s Natural Areas Program (NAP) has been spraying increasing amounts of toxic pesticides in parks used by people, pets, and wildlife. The San Francisco Department of the environment restricts the use of pesticides of land owned by the city, and it classifies permitted chemicals into three tiers: Tier III is the least hazardous; Tier II, more hazardous and Tier I, most hazardous pesticides.
Recently, someone asked us how NAP’s Tier I and Tier II pesticide use compares with the rest of SF Rec & Parks (SFRPD) usage. We hadn’t compiled the numbers (and neither, as far as we know, had the city). But we’ve done so now for the first quarter, Jan-March 2013.
It’s pretty bad. NAP used three times as much of the most toxic chemicals as all the other SFRPD departments put together.
[Edited to Add: We should note that these figures exclude Harding Park Golf Course. That’s a separate case because apparently the city is under contract to maintain it to certain specifications that involve substantial amounts of pesticides.]
NAP was the only department to use Tier I herbicides. They used Garlon 4 Ultra against oxalis in McLaren Park, Bayview Hill, Twin Peaks, and Mount Davidson. No other SFRPD area used any Tier I herbicides. NAP doesn’t use any Tier III pesticides.
Our “Natural Areas” are getting hit with the most toxic chemicals the city permits.
Which areas did they target?
- In March, it was Mc Laren and Glen Park.
- In February, it was Twin Peaks, Mt Davidson, Lake Merced, Pine Lake, and Oak Woodlands in Golden Gate Park.
- In January, it was Bayview, McLaren, and Twin Peaks.
Most of the pesticides used by NAP were applied by the contractors, Shelterbelt.
If this concerns you – as it does us – write to your representative on the Board of Supervisors. And write to the Mayor. These levels of pesticide use just don’t make sense for so-called “Natural Areas.”