The Vegetation Control Integrated Pest Management Plan (IPMP) provides guidelines on how the department controls weeds and other vegetation in public right-of-ways (such as streets and sidewalks), ponds and ditches.
Among the highlights as detailed by city staff were:
- The plan only applies to the Public Works Department
- The primary means of vegetation control are manual and/or mechanical (mowers, tractors).
- When authorized, herbicides will be primarily applied to cracks in curb and gutter, extruded curb and traffic islands. It will not be applied in areas where there is a planting strip between the curb and sidewalk, or directly over or within 10 feet from a drain inlet and 20 feet from a stream, wetland or sensitive area. Spraying will not occur if rain is predicted within 72 hours following application.
- Herbicides will not be used to control vegetation in ponds, ditches, streams, wetlands and drainage facilities.
- Public notice will be made on the city’s website and in city buildings (Fire Station 15, Recreation Center, Senior Center, City Hall, Public Library, Permit Center) at least one week prior to application. Notices will remain up for at least one hour after application.
- All residents have the right to opt-out of spraying in front of their homes by filling out a form.
- Public Works will use only one chemical pesticide, the herbicide glyphosate (commonly known as Round-up). No other pesticides will be used.
Councilmember Ruth Ross expressed concerns about the method of public notices and wondered if there was a better way of information the public.
Prior to taking action, a public hearing was held. One resident spoke out against the city’s IPMP, while another was supportive. A third was only hearing the details of the plan that evening and urged the council to delay the decision. A representative from the Lake Forest Park StreamKeepers also spoke out against the plan. The City Council also received written testimony.