Weed and Pest Control
The Town does not do this work in-house and usually hires professionally certified experienced professionals when maintaining parks, trails and public open spaces of priority. There are no restrictive policies on these kinds of weed and pest controls at the municipal level at present.
How do we use selective herbicides?
A qualified professional local area contractor is hired for some of our higher traffic open spaces annually. This work is part of our regular annual parks and open space maintenance. A selective herbicide typically works by fertilizing grass while being present in such concentration as to kill other plants like dandelions. On occasion, a qualified professional will be hired to apply other herbicides for more significant or specialized weed problems.
What is our approach to ground squirrels/ gophers?
The Town typically hires a professional firm for Richardson’s Ground Squirrel/ pocket gopher control in select locations. They are fully licensed and certified to do this work. They follow manufacturer’s directions for how it is distributed into the burrow entrances. This is not something done in house by our staff in any way. At present, a product called Rozol RTU is typically used (0.005% chlorophacinone). The regretful purpose of doing it is as a preventative measure so that gophers don't start creating holes in public spaces that cause safety concerns (e.g. trip hazards and landscaping damage).
We annually treat: 27th Avenue Dry Pond, Dave Wallace park, Westview Wet Pond, Lions Grove Park, Cemetery and a public lot near Subway that hosts signage. In 2021 about 4000 holes were treated in two rounds of application.
- The Town does not conduct gopher control on private property - that is up to the owner.
- The Town does not treat municipally-owned public spaces that have not been developed for residential, institutional or park use. It is simply not financially viable or effective to do so.
This is an agricultural region with a municipality surrounded by farmers' fields. Any expectations of comprehensive gopher control within Town boundaries are misplaced and property owners must make their own decisions with respect to safe and adequate pest control on their properties.
While citizen concerns about this and secondary poisoning are understandable, the product is applied underground in the burrow (with signage put up) and monitored for a couple of weeks by the Operations department for carcasses, etc. As long as it is directly consumed where only the pests can access it, it does not pose a threat to pets. It is used in much larger jurisdictions than ours, frequently on golf courses, and is not known to pose a significant risk to pets if applied by the professionals. Accidental secondary poisoning, if it ever happens, is treatable with Vitamin K. We are very reluctant to treat vacant lots in residential areas due to greater risk of accidental poisoning.
What happens with various wildlife carcasses?
This is best dealt with on a case-by-case basis and the Operations Department should be contacted if there are concerns. We appreciate the public's assistance with the sanitary disposal of smaller mammals found on roadsides, particularly in boulevards, as a shared responsibility.