Everett forms plan for pesticides in parks

EVERETT — Lowell activist Megan Dunn’s years of studying pesticide use in city parks and leading volunteer weeding parties appears to have paid off.

Everett’s Park Board recommended last week that the city implement a formal pest-control plan. It won’t amount to a ban on chemical pesticides, but will provide guidelines to minimize their use.

“I’m very excited,” Dunn said. “I put in five years of work and it’s coming to a healthy ending.”

Dunn initiated a pilot project in 2009 to keep Lowell Park pesticide-free. For each of three summers, volunteers put in more than 150 hours of labor to keep it going. The city suspended the pilot project two years ago as it began looking more seriously into a pest-management policy for all parks.

Assistant parks director John Petersen said Everett in practice already follows the guidelines in the policy.

“It basically puts into written form what we’ve been doing for the past 15 years,” Petersen said. “It provides a set of written guidelines, which our staff already knows.”

Chemicals only come into play when all else fails.

Parks instead staff rely heavily on techniques such as putting the right plants in the right places, minimizing the chances of weeds. The next step, if weeds or invasive plants pop up, is to take them out by hand or machine. They also mulch, aerate turf and improve drainage.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

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