Last night in Sonoma, the City Council voted 3-0 to ban all the use of the herbicide glyphosate by City staff in all parks and along bike paths. The Council was acting on a Staff recommendation to “ban the use of glyphosate-based herbicides in all City parks and direct City staff to amend the City’s Integrated Pest Management Policy accordingly.”
Concerns raised by Council members and members of the public included the potential health risks to City staff and members of the community, as well as the potential for City liability if an employee or anyone else might become ill.
Staff was requested to bring the matter back to the Council by March 31, 2019 with information on where the 6 gallons per year which previously had been in use were typically being applied. Council members expressed an interest in other alternative forms of weed management, including mulch, volunteer weed-pulling, and goats. They indicated that they were confident that if the school district and local farmers and gardeners can get by without Roundup, then the City can too.
Consumption of glyphosate by City public works staff has been going down since 2000, when usage was estimated to be as high as 30 gallons per year. That is when the City began to investigate the issue, and later banned its use in the central Plaza.