Integrated Pest Management

Oxalis in Lakeview Ashton Natural Area

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the use of multiple treatment methods to control undesirable weeds and other pests. While IPM has a range of meanings and is subject to various interpretations, the Recreation and Park Department defines IPM as the optimal integration of management methods to control pests with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment. As a division of the Recreation and Park Department, the Natural Areas Program uses a least toxic decision-making model in its vegetation management.

IPM is a multi-step, ecologically based approach that enables staff to make decisions regarding where, when, and how resources should be best allocated to control pests. IPM, is a proactive strategy that focuses on identifying and reducing, or eliminating, the root cause of a pest problem and implementing effective, long-term management solutions through the use of a broad range of expertise, a combination of treatment methods, and a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation process.

In October 1996, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed Chapter 39 of the San Francisco Administrative Code, which mandates all City departments that perform or obtain pest management services to adopt IPM policies. San Francisco’s IPM plan focuses on all aspects of pest plant and animal management, while promoting non-chemical control strategies and the elimination of all but exempted pesticides. Each year, all exempted pesticides are reviewed by an independent toxicologist and only the least toxic products are allowed to be used.

natural areas pesticide use web

The San Francisco Department of the Environment is responsible for oversight and implementation of IPM practices citywide. Additionally, all City departments are required to abide by the City’s IPM ordinance. This ordinance requires that herbicide applicators are trained and required to follow the manufacturer’s label when applying pesticides. Also, signs alerting the public of a scheduled spray must be posted in a prominent location three days before the spray and must remain up for four days after the application. All use of pesticides is recorded by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department (SFRPD) and forwarded to the Department of the Environment and the County Agriculture Commissioner.

For more about IPM reports, please visit Department of the Environment.

In addition to the posting described above, RPD personnel that apply herbicides in natural areas wait on site until the product is dry, which the typically when the manufacturer’s label states it is safe to reenter.