Ann Arbor wants landowners to cut back on pesticides and consider lawn alternatives
ANN ARBOR, MI – You don’t need a lot of chemicals to have a green lawn, and it’s best to minimize its use.
And it may be even better to replace sod with a variety of native plants, including pollinator-friendly gardens.
It’s a message Ann Arbor officials are trying to get across to residents and other homeowners.
“The idea is that pesticides – including herbicides, fungicides and insecticides used on turf grass – are harmful to wildlife, bees, pollinators and humans,” said Anne Bannister, member of the Council. , D-1st Ward.
“And so we will try to encourage residents and large lawn owners to look at alternative methods.”
City council voted unanimously on Feb. 18 to launch a new educational campaign on best practices in pest control and sod reduction.
In addition to the damage to people, pets and pollinators, the city is concerned about damage to water resources from pesticides.
“Some of these chemicals that we use in our environment are pretty bad. Roundup is pretty terrible, ”said Jeff Hayner, Board Member D-1st Ward, one of the proposal’s sponsors.
“Our Parks and Recreation department and staff at golf courses, etc., have done an incredible job reducing our usage from hundreds and hundreds of acres to very little, if at all. And if we can do it, anyone can do it.
Hayner suggested the city could take additional steps to encourage more natural environments.
“I’ve seen in European cities and other cities here in the United States that they encourage and even pay residents to replant their gardens with pollinator-type gardens,” he said. “And I think it’s very appropriate and necessary now that bumblebees and so on are on the endangered species list. And as we all know, when the bees go, they take us with them. “
Bannister, another of the proposal’s sponsors, said the new campaign expands on last July’s council resolution urging the Washtenaw County Roads Commission to reduce the use of herbicides along roadsides and to develop a roadside vegetation management plan based on best environmental practices.
“The management of sod, including the excessive use of pesticides to maintain sod, is incompatible with the goal of the city’s sustainability framework of maintaining healthy ecosystems and proper management of our natural resources” , indicates a note accompanying the new council resolution, prepared by the Environment Committee.
It defines pesticides as any synthetic chemical used to control harmful / invasive plants, problem insects, plant diseases, rodents, nematodes or microorganisms.
Community members expressed support for the environmentally friendly pest management practices used by city parks and natural area preservation staff to maintain healthy and enjoyable public spaces, as well as the practice of NAP to convert certain areas of turf to meadow or areas with various native plants, the memo says.
However, turf maintenance and unnecessary overuse of pesticides by landowners and businesses is still evident throughout the city, and members of the Ann Arbor community have encouraged the city to take a more strong and proactive about this problem, ”he said. States.
Council asked staff to compile educational materials to disseminate to the community and to identify turf land owners for outreach and education.
Many lawns could be drastically reduced, resulting in huge savings from reducing the use of water, pesticides and fossil fuels from mowing, city officials say.
Council has stated that it supports the implementation of the practices used by municipal parks in all properties owned by the City, and Council is asking staff to review the implementation of a certification program for the practices. lawn care that meets these standards.
“This is obviously a big step forward to get to where we need to be,” said Ali Ramlawi Council member D-5th Ward.
Council member Zachary Ackerman, D-3rd Ward, said a voter with asthma who dealt with a neighbor who was spraying pesticides on his lawn contacted him about a year ago.
“And very quickly when you try to do that kind of voter service you run into bad state law that just says local municipalities can’t regulate this stuff,” he said. declared.
“And this public education campaign trying to encourage our neighbors not to use these dangerous chemicals – dangerous for the environment, but also dangerous for their neighbors who have health problems – is very important.”
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