The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is on its way to eliminating use of a common herbicide on parkland.
The board has been phasing out glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, for years, but a step taken this week almost ensures that it’ll soon be gone for good.
“Eliminating toxins in our parks is something I heard about a lot on the campaign trail. People want to see this change, and I’m proud to help make it happen,” Commissioner Londel French said in a prepared statement.
Commissioners on the Operations and Environment Committee passed the moratorium on glyphosate at Wednesday’s board meeting, which drew dozens of supporters. The full board will vote Oct. 17.
The board eliminated the use of glyphosate in 2016 in all neighborhood parks, excluding unfinished projects, according to a news release announcing the vote.
Jeremy Barrick, assistant superintendent for environmental stewardship, said at the meeting that glyphosate has been used in recent years to control cattails at Loring Park and buckthorn in several areas.
If approved, the moratorium will begin Jan. 1 for all contractors, consultants and Park Board staff who use the chemical to treat invasive species. The ban applies only to glyphosate, not to any other pesticides.
“This provides us clarity. ... We have experimented with organics, but the hard part is figuring out the most effective ways with cost in mind,” Barrick said. “We don’t like to use pesticides either. ... Every year we work to reduce the amount of pesticides we rely on.”
The resolution also includes establishing a nine-member task force that will research alternatives used to treat invasive species and help staff transition toward pesticide-free resource management alternatives, according to the news release.
“Numerous studies have indicated that glyphosate is a health risk to both humans and pollinators, so I believe it is time for us to move to organic methods of pest control,” Commissioner Chris Meyer said in a statement.
More than a dozen people stood in front of the board to voice support of the ban, saying it’s linked to myriad health problems.