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Daily News Blog

17
Sep

City of Lafayette, Colorado Restricts Bee-Toxic Neonicotinoids

(Beyond Pesticides, September 17, 2015) On Tuesday, the City Council of Lafayette, Colorado unanimously approved a resolution to prohibit bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides on city property. The resolution restricts the use of neonicotinoids on any land owned or operated by the city, including public rights-of-way, parks, playing fields, watersheds and ditches, open space lands, and public landscapes. Modeled on  a resolution passed in May by neighboring Boulder city, the new resolution has been propelled through the City Commission with  support from grassroots organizations, including Bee Safe Boulder and Pesticide Free Boulder County Coalition.

The resolution affirms that the City of Lafayette:CofL_GraphicStandards2

  • Not purchase or use any neonicotinoid pesticides on city owned or operated land;
  • Restrict city and agricultural contractors from using neonicotinoids like imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran, etc.;
  • Provide exceptions only when emergency situations where the life or health of a valuable, important land asset is at risk, such as a valuable tree or golf course, and when the neonicotinoid application is the most effective option;
  • Urge all residents and business in Lafayette to suspend neonicotinoids for use in seed treatment, soil application, foliar treatment, and other bee-attractive settings;
  • Purchase landscape materials that have not been treated with neonicotinoids and urge all businesses, homeowners, and homeowner associations to enlist the same practices; and
  • Support efforts to educate the broader community about the actions it is taking.

Similar to the resolution passed in the neighboring Boulder in May, this resolution encourages citizens and businesses to limit or restrict the use of neonicotinoids, but does not mandate such practices for private lands. Because of Colorado’s regressive pesticide preemption  law, the cities are barred from passing legislation that halts the use of pesticides on private property.

In a similar policy in Boulder County, where both Boulder and Lafayette are incorporated, Commissioner Elise Jones declared September “Pollinator Appreciation Month” in an effort to kick start the county’s own pollinator protective resolution, which strives to:

  • Reduce and minimize all chemical pesticide use on County lands and in County buildings;
  • Not apply neonicotinoid or other systemic insecticides on its County rights of way, along watersheds and ditches, on public trees and landscapes or in its buildings;
  • Allow exceptions only after consideration of both the necessity of treatment and of alternative treatments to achieve the necessary protection of those lands, trees, or landscapes
  • Enhance safe and healthy pollinator forage habitat on County lands, including revision of mowing policies where possible to allow wildflowers and other appropriate flowering species to flourish and feed pollinators; and,
  • Facilitate the transition of County owned agricultural lands to organic production by providing incentives to make it possible for farmers to make the transition from conventional to organic practices and will require management practices for  farmers leasing county lands.

Despite constricting preemption laws, localities have proven that neonicotinoid use can be reduced on public land through city and county resolutions, and grassroots outreach and education can reduce the use of pesticides on private land. Susan Swern of Toxic Free Lafayette gave a presentation in July to the Lafayette City Council about limiting pesticide use in Lafayette. Her presentation includes lists of “Bee Safe” businesses and neonicotinoid alternatives. Activists at Bee Safe Boulder have reached out to residents in an effort to encourage them to pledge  to stop the use of neonicotinoids and other bee-toxic chemicals on their own property. Once one neighborhood forms at least 75 contiguous pledged properties, the group certifies the neighborhood as a Bee Safe Community. “We are saving the bees, and by extension our environment, one neighborhood at a time,” said Bee Safe Boulder co-founder Molly Greacen.

Neonicotinoids  have been widely cited in the demise of both managed and wild bee and pollinator populations. Acting as potent neurotoxins, studies have found the insecticides have the ability to disrupt the reproduction, navigation, and foraging of bees exposed even to  infinitesimal concentrations. These systemic chemicals, or “whole plant poisons,” which are taken up by plants and expressed in pollen nectar, and dew droplets, cause  systemic changes in ecosystems. Beyond pollination, damage to natural pest control services, soil fertility, and changes within the food web ultimately compromise the biodiversity of wild and managed landscapes.

To become active in your community, contact Beyond Pesticides and the  BEE Protective campaign, launched with our partners at the Center for Food Safety. The more communities that pass resolutions like Boulder’s, the more pressure that will be felt to take strong action on this issue at the federal level. “We believe it has to be a grassroots effort that spreads bit by bit,” said Bee Safe Boulder’s David Wheeler to the  Daily Camera. “If the citizens don’t speak up for the place that they live, who will?”

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Source: City of Lafayette

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  • Archives

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