Pesticide Reduction Pilot Program

The Boise Parks and Recreation Department manages more than 1,600 acres of park land, and more than 5,000 acres of open space across the City of Boise. To promote sustainable practices and stay on the cutting edge of public land management, the department is planning to embark on a multi-year pilot program to study alternative land management techniques to reduce the use of pesticides on city-owned property.

“We believe we can continue to move the needle in reducing the amount of pesticides we use,” said Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway. “We are committed to innovating and trying new things and want to use this program to gather useful data on park maintenance strategies that can inform the next update to our pest management plan city-wide.”

The goal of the pilot program is to use a variety of methods to manage grass, soil, tree wells and other landscaped areas while studying the effects of a reduction in synthetic chemical use. Methods tested on city-managed property could include organic treatments, higher and less frequent mowing, hand pulling, strategic planting or other best practices identified through emerging research. The city will also be monitoring how these methods affect maintenance standards and resource management.

Pilot Sites and Site Details

Other Locations:

  • Bethine Church River Trail (East End)
  • Garden Beds at Boise City Hall (150 N. Capitol Blvd.) and Fort Boise Community Center (700 Robbins Rd.)
  • The Pioneer Pathway (Myrtle St. to Grand Ave.)
  • Pollinator Gardens at Warm Springs Park (250 S. Marden St.) and Terry Day Park (1225 S. Federal Way)
  • Trevor’s Trek Cancer Memorial Plaza in Julia Davis Park (700 S. Capitol Blvd.)
  • Whitewater Park Blvd. Right-of-Way

The pilot sites meet a set of criteria needed to gather a variety of data on pesticide reduction tactics, study park maintenance impacts and monitor department resource management. They are also spread out throughout the City of Boise.

The department’s criteria for the inclusion of a pilot park or landscaped area includes:

  • Locations must be reasonably close to maintenance facilities to promote implementation of new strategies and regular monitoring.
  • Sites should have diverse amenities to increase the potential for learning about how maintenance needs differ according to various uses.
  • Locations should be relatively small for ease of implementation and monitoring.
  • Sites should be as well distributed as possible across the City of Boise.

Map of all locations 


Let us know how you think the program is going! Take a picture and share it with us.

Citizen Engagement

The department hosted two public meetings to provide information to citizens about its current weed and pest management practices, discuss the goals of the pilot program and to discuss park and facility locations that met the criteria for potential inclusion in the pilot program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Us

For questions or concerns about current pest management practices or future goals, please feel free to contact the Integrated Pest Management Coordinator or Foothills Restoration Specialist:

Daniel Roop
Sustainability Specialist
Boise Parks and Recreation Department
(208) 608-7611

Martha Brabec
Foothills Restoration Specialist
Boise Parks and Recreation Department
(208) 493-2535

Sun and grass

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices reduce the spread of undesirable plants, insects, bacteria or other organisms that have a negative impact on our landscape or human health. An IPM program utilizes different tools to control pests in ways that are least impactful to the environment and most effective for getting rid of specific pests. These tools may include the application of a targeted pesticide or shifting management practices to help reduce the likelihood of pest establishment on city property.

The City of Boise Parks and Recreation Department first started using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices in 1995.  The department most recently updated its guidelines to improve these efforts in 2016.

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