SNRAMP, Pesticides, and Mt Davidson

It’s not just Twin Peaks and Glen Canyon and McLaren Park and Stern Grove. Here are some recent pictures we received of pesticide use on Mt Davidson.

It’s the old favorites, Aquamaster (glyphosate) and Polaris (Imazapyr). Coming soon to one of the 32 Significant Natural Resource Areas Management Plan (SNRAMP) “parks” near you (assuming you live in San Francisco, of course).

This notice says Imazapyr is being used on cotoneaster, the bush with the abundant bright red berries birds love. Before the berries there are, of course, flowers for nectar loving butterflies. Another useful habitat plant being condemned as “invasive” and poisoned. (And that doesn’t even consider the cover a bush provides for birds and small animals.)

[ETA: Incidentally, the phone number on the sign is apparently wrong and takes you to some equipment shop in the roads division. Here’s one for Ralph Montana of IPM: (415) 831-6314]


When we looked at the pesticides most used by the San Francisco Natural Areas Program (SFNAP) in our article Toxic and Toxic-er, here’s what we noted about Imazapyr:

“This is a very new pesticide, and not much is known about it — except that it’s very persistent. SF’s DoE has recently approved it for use as a Tier II hazard. It not only doesn’t degrade, some plants excrete it through their roots so it travels through the environment. We’ve written about this one, too, when NAP recently started using it on Twin Peaks and Glen Canyon. (Actually, NAP had started using it prior to SF DoE’s approval , in Stern Grove and also at Lake Merced in 2009 and some unspecified NAP area in 2008.)

“About its impact on people, we wrote: “it can cause irreversible damage to the eyes, and irritate the skin and mucosa. As early as 1996, the Journal of Pesticide Reform noted that a major breakdown product  is quinolic acid, which is “irritating to eyes, the respiratory system and skin. It is also a neurotoxin, causing nerve lesions and symptoms similar to Huntington’s disease.”

It’s prohibited in the European Union countries, since 2002; and in Norway since December 2001.”


The other notice, which was washed out in the rain (presumably the rain that postponed the application) notes that Glyphosate and Imazapyr are to be applied to a range of plants. We couldn’t quite read the notice, even after blowing it up, but it seems to include Erhata Grass and Cape Ivy and blackberry. The last two are especially valuable habitat plants in a wild “natural” area, as we’ve discussed before. The pesticides were to be applied to “patches throughout area.”

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and Aquamaster, is a very widely used pesticide, but new research suggests that it is much more dangerous than its manufacturer, Monsanto, says. In fact, in view of this new research, we wonder if San Francisco’s first line of defense, the Department of the Environment, would consider revisiting its Tier II classification.

Here’s what we wrote in Toxic and Toxic-er:

“We hope that in view of the new research that has been surfacing, SF’s DoE will revisit that classification and consider if it deserves a Tier I rating.

  • heart breaking

    It’s been associated with birth-defects, especially around the head, brain and neural tube — defects like microcephaly (tiny head); microphthalmia (tiny undeveloped eyes); impairment of hindbrain development; cyclopia (also called cyclocephaly – a single eye in the middle of the forehead).

  • Research indicates it kills beneficial soil fungi while allowing dangerous ones to grow.
  • It binds to the soil, and acts as a “chelating agent” – trapping elements like magnesium that plants need to grow and thus impoverishing the soil.
  • It’s very dangerous to frogs and other amphibians, and quite dangerous to fish.”


What’s been achieved? We’re not sure. The use of pesticides is a continuing process. Nature doesn’t give in easily.

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1 Response to SNRAMP, Pesticides, and Mt Davidson

  1. Pingback: Glen Canyon Park: Pesticides and Habitat Removal | Save Mount Sutro Forest

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