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Stop the overuse of herbicide at Heintz Open Space.

This petition had 223 supporters

Help Protect your children, yourself, pets, and wildlife! Please tell the Town of Los Gatos to stop using herbicides in its parks and open spaces and instead use manpower, weed whackers, trimmers, and mowers.

Heintz Open Space is a patch of mixed Pine and Oak Woodland above the historic orchards along Blossom Hill Rd. in Los Gatos, CA. The trails are maintained by the Town of Los Gatos with Herbicide spraying 4-8 feet from the trail side, killing and damaging over 30 species of native: Trees, Shrubs, and Herbs. Its spring and there are no wildflowers blooming along the trails sides, dead trees and limbs are falling on the trails posing a safety risk to trail users. Erosion will likely increase during storm events and run off can affect other parts of the watershed. The forest at Heintz O.S. is a prime example of the bad impacts herbicides can have on our environment.

On 5-1-15 I picked 15 species of flora and counted the dead and damaged plants, on the 1.4 mile main loop trail (from Blossom Hill Rd, to Valley View Trail, then Sky Trail) revealed that 32 Coast Live Oaks, 6 Valley Oaks, 20 Monterey Pines, 15 Elderberry Trees, 44 Snowberry Bushes, over 500 California Sage Brushes, and the list goes on of dead plants within the herbicide sprayed area. 

 Residents have already approached the Town on this issue and have gotten nowhere. A Los Gatos parks official Steve Regan said at the last beautification meeting, the reasoning for this herbicide spraying is to control Poison Oak, but they are killing the woodland in the process. They are not targeting specific Poison Oak plants, Los Gatos sprays the entire trail side decimating the natural diversity of Blossom Hill. Although Poison Oak may present a risk to an unaware hiker it is an important part of the ecosystem and provides habitat and food to many species of wildlife. No local land agency manages poison oak in this manner because it is harmful to the environment. Regan also stated at the meeting that the drought is killing the trees not the herbicides. Granted the drought has killed a few trees, our native trees are adapted to drought and other mixed pine/oak woodlands in the area, maintained by other land managers, do not show the same amount or type of damage seen at Heintz. There is no doubt that Heintz's ecosystem is being affected by the overuse of Herbicide. 

A Statement from the Towns' Integrated Pest Management Policy

"The Town of Los Gatos will carry out its pest management operations using reduced-risk IPM techniques to reduce or eliminate chemicals to the maximum extent. Chemicals will be used only as a last resort for pest management problems. Each Department that applies pesticides will maintain an active IPM plan to ensure the long-term prevention or
suppression of pest problems with minimum negative impact on human health, non-target organisms, and the environment."

As you can see the town is going against its own IPM Policy by overusing herbicide on a wide variety of "non-target organisms". 

Our Requests for the Town of Los Gatos

1) Stop all herbicide use until it has reviewed all departments IPM plans and partnered with other open space managers (like Mid-peninsula Open Space District and Santa Clara Open Space Authority) to gain knowledge of how to properly execute an Integrated Pest Management Plan in an open space.

2) Take responsibility for restoration of the forest using the same or similar native plants. (possible plant sources Acterra and Our City Forest)

3) Make every effort to abide by its own policy and to hold employees accountable for not following town policy

4) Create and annual public report that shows how much herbicide the town uses, what kind, where, and why, releasing the first report ASAP.

Today: Urban Wildlife Research Project is counting on you

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