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 Site Recommendations 

Here is a list of park sites currently being considered for inclusion in the pesticide reduction pilot:

The initial pilot sites suggested by Boise Parks and Recreation 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.

Citizens can also recommend other park locations that meet the outlined criteria for consideration. Please email with feedback, or attend the upcoming public meeting on March 12 at 5:30 p.m. at the Boise Main Library auditorium (715 S. Capitol Blvd.).

Feedback on pilot sites will be collected until Wednesday, March 18 and a final decision on monitoring locations will be made by project managers in late March. This timeline will allow the department to start planning for and implementing changes at pilot sites this spring when the mowing, weed mitigation and park maintenance season ramps up.

Citizen Engagement

The department hosted a public meeting on Thursday, Feb. 13 to provide information to citizens about its current weed and pest management practices and discuss the goals of the pilot program. Attendees heard a presentation from the pilot project team and had a chance to ask questions of department leaders in a conversational setting.

The next public meeting will be on March 12 at 5:30 p.m. at the Boise Main Library auditorium (715 S. Capitol Blvd.). to discuss park and facility locations that meet the criteria for potential inclusion in the pilot program. Community feedback will be gathered throughout this process, including in the selection of pilot sites and information will be updated on the city’s website so people can stay up to date on the program and data/findings throughout the multi-year study.

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. To view the department’s current IPM guidelines, click here.

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