City of Dubuque website photo of Miller Park.

City of Dubuque website photo of Miller Riverview Park.

At the request of some residents, the city of Dubuque is reducing the amount of pesticides and other chemicals used in its parks.

In nine of the city’s 50 parks, the Leisure Services Department created landscaping that needs less maintenance and will rely instead on mulching, mowing and hand-weeding.

Department manager Marie Ware says it’s not practical to eliminate the use of all chemicals, but figures this is a good first step.

“What we tried to do was to look throughout our community and choose locations so they’re on the north side, the south side, the east side, the west side and the middle,” Ware says. “We also needed to pick park areas where we knew we could manage them without the use of chemicals.”

Dubuque will also stop chemically treating all of the playgrounds in the city, finding other ways to control weeds and other pests. Ware says they’re studying what other changes could be made, like less toxic replacements for the pesticides now in use.

Long-term, the city is considering ways to develop what she calls an “integrated pest management program” to reduce the use of chemicals in all of Dubuque’s outdoor and indoor facilities.

(Thanks to Herb Trix, WVIK, Rock Island)