PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
August 17, 2009
Present: Commissioners Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Noraas, Rosenthal; Interim Director Gies; Superintendent Dials; Staff Horticulturist Todt; Staff Forestry/Trails Supervisor McFarland
Absent: City Council Liaison Silbiger; Director Robertson
Gardiner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Parks office,
Gardiner said two of the commission’s goals for FY 2009-2010 were pesticides and non-native vegetation. Gies said staff prepared presentations on both topics for the commission.
PESTICIDES – PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION
Staff Horticulturist Donn Todt presented information about Parks pesticide practices, historical usage, toxicity, and application methods.
Todt said the Parks pesticide policy—developed in the 1980s—was greatly influenced by author Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. He said the policy was deliberately conservative, with restricted chemicals banned from use. He said staff spent thousands of hours manually controlling weeds each year; no large-scale applications of weed killers were used on lawns or elsewhere within the parks system; and an integrated pest management (IPM) system was implemented for the department, including fertilizing, overseeding, aerating, irrigating, and mowing. He said Parks staff tolerated a great deal of diversity in lawns, including dandelions and English daisy, and that species not requiring high inputs of pesticides for survival were regularly used. He said higher maintenance trees and bushes were removed from the parks system, partially to reduce pesticide usage, and that staff monitored pest populations, used biological controls only when effective and appropriate, and rarely used insecticides. He said spraying was not allowed within 15 feet of playgrounds. He said Parks employed three Oregon Certified Pesticide Applicators when just one was required; the certified applicators authorized and purchased all pesticides used by Parks staff; and employees were not allowed to apply pesticides without event-specific authorization. He said Parks staff received a mandatory review of the department’s pesticide policy and procedures each year. He reported that any application of pesticides with toxicity greater than table salt (LD 50) required a posting in the area.
Todt reviewed the pesticide application equipment used by staff, including a small two-gallon hand-held sprayer and a smaller bottle used for “cut and treat” applications. He said staff wore personal protective equipment when applying pesticides, including safety glasses, rubber gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. He said records were maintained for every application event.
Gardiner thanked everyone for contributing to the discussion and said it was the start of the process.
NON-NATIVE VEGETATION REMOVAL – PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION
Gies reviewed the documentation prepared by staff and said more than 600 acres had been treated or retreated since 1990. He welcomed Forestry and Trails Supervisor McFarland, inviting him to speak to the commission.
McFarland reviewed prescriptions for parks located at Chitwood and
Desired conditions for the 2.4-acre Chitwood property were reported to include a mixture of native and non-native trees and shrubs, blackberries comprising a small percentage of the biomass, and the elimination of Scotch broom, Japanese polygonum, and cherry plum. McFarland reviewed the existing conditions, initial treatment protocol, and prescription / post initial treatments and said removals would include non-invasive, non-native trees only where they were adjacent to native species, in competition with them, or where removal wouldn’t greatly compromise shading of the creek. Estimated cost for initial treatment was $3,362, including 22.5 hours of volunteer labor, with ongoing annual costs estimated at $1,811.
Desired conditions for the 3.5-acre
McFarland said the blackberries at
Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioners discussed utilizing volunteers for such projects. Eggers suggested encouraging students from the adjacent
Gies suggested, during budget season, that the commission could discuss the possibility of hiring a volunteer coordinator for the Parks Department. He said staff would move forward in writing prescriptions for every park site, with the commission prioritizing the order in which the prescriptions were implemented.
Eggers volunteered to serve on a subcommittee to coordinate a volunteer structure for parks maintenance assistance. Commissioners discussed including McFarland, Todt, and Linda Chesney of the
SIGNS AND PLAQUES SUBCOMMITTEE DISCUSSION
Gardiner referenced an updated draft version of the
Gies reviewed the Upper Duck Pond signs that incorporated previous commission comments and suggestions and talked about their placement around the pond. Commissioners spoke approvingly of the changes and directed staff to move the signs to the production stage after a final proofreading.
ORPA CONFERENCE / SEPTEMBER STUDY SESSION DATE
Dials said the September study session was scheduled for Monday, September 21, but the date conflicted with the annual
Commissioners agreed to the proposed change.
Gies said that, earlier in the day, TID water was added to the Upper Duck Pond. He said staff was monitoring water inflows and would continue to make adjustments until the level of the pond water stabilized.
Gies said the backflow device at the Upper Duck Pond pump station was replaced and the project was nearly completed. He said a section of
Gies said that, due to the seasonally lower water level at the Reeder Reservoir, Parks staff reduced by 20% the irrigation of Parks-managed lands throughout the city. He said some landscaping could begin to appear brown with the reduced water usage.
ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 10:03 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard,