The Natural Areas Program and Pesticides: Volumes and Numbers
June 28, 2012 1 Comment
We talked about pesticide use in the Natural Areas a number of times, and particular of the increasing volumes of the “Fearsome Four” pesticides they use most:
- Glyphosate (Roundup or Aquamaster);
- Triclopyr (Garlon or Garlon 4 Ultra);
- Imazapyr (Polaris or Habitat); and
- Amino-pyralid (Milestone).
We got San Francisco’s Natural Areas Program pesticide use records under the Sunshine Act, and used them to create a graph of the number of applications by year. We’ve shown this graph at some of our presentations.
Recently someone spoke to us about the graph. “I asked NAP about it, and they said that possibly the number of applications has gone up, but the amount of pesticide use has gone down because they use less in each application.”
Possibly. And possibly not.
VOLUMES ROSE MORE
What we found when we looked was that volumes have increased even more. (This is based again on the data provided us under the Sunshine Act.)
- Between 2010 and 2011 the number of applications went up 21%. The volume of pesticide (in fluid ounces) used went up by 25%.
- Between 2009 and 2010, the number of applications went up 184%. The volume of pesticide used went up by 365%.
So here’s that graph:
(Milestone doesn’t show up here because until now, the volume of applications has been small. Possibly, given its persistence, we should count it cumulatively?)
Edited to Add: For those interested in details of NAP’s pesticide use, calculated four different ways (number of applications; volume; active ingredient; and “acid equivalent”) here’s an article with details:
Click here for SaveSutro’s article: Measuring Pesticide Use by the Natural Areas Program
This graph that summarizes it by comparing pesticide use on various measures to 2008 levels. Pesticide use went down in 2009, then increased sharply in 2010 by all measures. In 2011, it rose in volume terms and number of applications, and declined very slightly when measured by active ingredient or acid equivalent.
[Edited to replace with the more precise and detailed calculation, above.]
Edited to Add (for those with a technical bent): SF RPD used various formulations of glyphosate over the years. Technically, to compare them you need to calculate “Acid Equivalents” of the various formulations. We did this exercise, converted them to Aquamaster equivalents, and adjusted the numbers. It made no significant difference. Between 2010 and 2011 the number of applications went up 21%. The adjusted volume of pesticide used went up 52%. Between 2009 and 2010, the number of applications went up 184%. The adjusted volume of pesticide used went up 264%.