Chalk one up in the win column for turf management professionals and responsible integrated pest management programs.
In response to pleas by concerned parents to ban a handful of pesticides used to control weeds on school grounds, athletic fields and parks, an Oregon school district sided with its IPM program and the university data used to develop it.
The West Linn-Wilsonville School District, in the face of stiff objections by parents, decided during a June 11 school board meeting against banning the use glyphosate, dicamba and 2, 4-D.
Tim Woodley, director of operations for the school board, told parents that the district developed its IPM program based on a list of low-impact pesticides, which includes herbicides for weeds and insecticides for insect pests.
Parents advocating for a ban of these pesticides spoke in favor of alternative pest-control methods that include live-trapping rodents, relocating hives, hand-pulling weeds and using steam weeding machines. Organic pesticides only are to be used as a last resort, according to that plan.
Woodley told parents and an advocacy group known as Non Toxic Wilsonville, that the district's goal is minimal use of pesticides and that the university's list of approved chemistries helped the district develop an IPM program that is appropriate for schools. The district says it has reduced synthetic pesticide use by more than 80 percent since adopting its current IPM strategy.
Non Toxic Wilsonville made similar requests to Wilsonville City Council during a council meeting June 4. But Wilsonville City Manager Bryan Cosgrove said the city also uses minimal amounts of pesticides in its parks and natural areas. You might or might not recall that former golf course superintendent and OSU research assistant Tod Blankenship, CGCS, is the parks supervisor for the City of Wilsonville.
That IPM program includes more than just what to apply. It includes when to apply it. For example, the plan prohibits spraying in windy conditions (5 mph or more).
Although the district has sided with science, the battle is far from over. Parents and those representing Non Toxic Wilsonville who are concerned with exposing children to potential carcinogens, vow to keep up the fight.