Step 5: Minimize Risks When Managing Pests
Minimize the environmental and human health risks of pesticides in the Barnegat Bay watershed by developing and implementing Integrated Pest Management practices.
Why It’s Important
Pesticides are substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating unwanted organisms. Their use carries risks of harm to human health and the environment including: contamination of surface and ground water, toxicity to wildlife (e.g., fish, birds, pollinators, and beneficial insects), and impacts on human health.
Using Integrated Pest Management (IPM), municipalities can maintain aesthetically pleasing landscapes while reducing the use of pesticides. IPM is an approach to managing pests using proactive, preventative, knowledge-based, and low-risk practices. Basic IPM strategies are:
- Prevent pest problems before they start,
- Identify the pest causing a problem,
- Monitor pest numbers and the amount of damage,
- Follow guidelines to make decisions about when pest management action is needed, and
- Use a combination of cultural, physical, biological controls and, only when necessary, targeted chemical controls.
The goal of IPM is early detection and prevention. Monitoring is a key component of an IPM plan, as is an understanding of local pest pressure, pest life cycles, how plants exhibit stress, and knowledge of the management options for various pest problems. IPM uses a combination of control practices linked together to manage pest problems; pesticides are only applied when absolutely necessary.
Proper management does not necessarily mean total elimination of a pest. To support how nature controls pest populations, low numbers are often allowed to remain in order to feed and maintain naturally occurring beneficial insects. Improper use of pesticides can harm the beneficial insects that keep pests under control, and overuse of pesticides can result in pests developing resistance, making it even more difficult to control them.
NOTE: Complete Standard Actions 5A and 5B if any pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc.) are applied to municipal landscapes. If pesticides are never applied to municipal landscapes, then submit a statement confirming that fact.
5A: Designate a trained IPM coordinator for your municipality.
The IPM coordinator will be responsible for developing a municipal IPM plan, training and supervising grounds maintenance staff in the use of IPM practices, and record-keeping. The designated coordinator should complete a Landscape IPM course, such as the one offered by the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education, to get the training needed to develop and implement an IPM plan.
Any employee or municipal contractor who applies pesticides on municipal property must also meet the certification and licensing requirements of the State of New Jersey.
What to submit for Action 5A: Name and contact information of your IPM coordinator and documentation that the coordinator has completed a Landscape IPM training course.
5B: Develop and implement an IPM plan for a landscaped municipal property.
The IPM plan should include the following:
1. List of the predominate plant species on the property (including turf grass) and the common pests for each.
2. Information about previous pest problems on the property (e.g., where, on what species, and when pests occurred; and what, if any, pesticides were applied to control them).
Use a base map of the property to show the location(s) of any previous pest problems. The map, which should be updated annually, will help track pest “hot spots” and identify where additional monitoring or action may be needed.
3. Your tolerance level and action threshold (point at which pest populations or plant damage will trigger pest management actions) for each pest identified as common and/or detected in 1 and 2 above.
Factors to consider in setting your action thresholds are economics, health and safety, and aesthetic considerations. You may decide on a higher level of maintenance and different threshold for action in certain areas (e.g., near a building where visitors are frequent and aesthetics are more important). If that’s the case, describe the location, reason for being designated high maintenance, and the specific threshold for action in that area.
4. List of the options for cultural, physical, biological, and chemical controls for each potential pest.
Implement the plan you developed. Use IPM monitoring sheets to record the location, date, name of pest, pest abundance, plant species affected, degree of plant damage, presence of any natural enemies of the pest, any pest management action(s) taken, and results.
What to submit for Action 5B: A completed IPM plan for at least one landscaped municipal property and IPM monitoring records for a period of at least one year.
5C: Establish one or more Pesticide-Free Zones on municipal property.
Establish at least one Pesticide-free Zone (PFZ) in an area used by children, such as a playground or sports field. Post a sign at the PFZ and inform all parties responsible for maintenance at the site about the PFZ designation.
What to submit for Action 5C: Pesticide Free Zone location and approximate dimensions; how the area is used; start date of the PFZ; and a photo of the PFZ sign installed at the site.
- Jersey-Friendly Yards: Step 5
- IPM Institute: What is Integrated Pest Management
- NJDEP: School IPM
- NJDEP Pesticide Publications
- Clean Water Action: Pesticide Free Zones
Ready to Submit Step 5?
Upload the Required Documentation to Your Custom Link.
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