READER REPORT: Herbicide application at Alki

Judy thought you might want to know, if you are heading to Alki any time soon, that the sign above was up for a while this morning after Seattle Parks sprayed herbicides in the 2800 block:

This morning the parks department sprayed roundup and another chemical on the new landscaping by the obelisk. Picture attached. The worker pulled up the signs after 30 minutes for the inexplicable reason that people panic if they forget and leave them too long. Talked to Brad, the parks employee, listed on the sign. He said he was spot hitting the weeds that popped up. Noticed on the sign afterwards that he also sprayed the sidewalk.

The city has said it is working to use less herbicides and pesticides.

20 Replies to "READER REPORT: Herbicide application at Alki"

  • Deb April 19, 2018 (12:03 pm)

    I just saw the same signs in landscape beds at Delridge Community Center between the parking lot and the building. 

  • Joan April 19, 2018 (1:22 pm)

    Seattle is a Bee City? The sign says Roundup was used. I believe that is toxic to pollinators. Vinegar works on weeds too. If they’re just spraying a few spots here and there, how about a vinegar solution? I would like to see everyone stop using Roundup.

  • anonyme April 19, 2018 (5:32 pm)

    Anyone who has a child or a pet should be outraged that these dangerous chemicals are being used in public areas.  They are also being used on right-of-way locations, where they eventually end up in our waterways.  Seattle pays a lot of lip service to environmental protection, but this incident is proof that they’re actually getting away with widespread murder.   In Europe, where Monsanto has less of a stranglehold on legislation, glyphosate was banned until recently – even though it was determined that 60% of the bread produced in the UK contains glyphosate (RoundUp),largely due to Monsanto’s genetically modified, “RoundUp ready” wheat.  This has to stop.

  • SW April 19, 2018 (6:50 pm)

     Be careful of your kids and pets if you use lawn treaments, specifically  lawn care services that spray your lawn; these have been linked to Lymphoma in dogs by a Tufts Unversity study.  These chemicals may also contibute to Non Hodgkins Lymphoma in humans as well. 

  • Suzanne Krom April 19, 2018 (9:41 pm)

    The bees might not have been killed outright. But there’s ample research showing that these chemicals can build up in the bees and their hives, and ultimately kill them. 

    There is no reason whatsoever to be using these pesticides when nontoxic measures can be taken. That includes diluted white vinegar and sheet mulching. 

    It’s astounding that Seattle Parks continues to use toxic chemicals. What can we do as a whole community (WS and beyond) to encourage them to use other safer means??

  • Jeannie April 19, 2018 (11:52 pm)

    What can we do? For starters, we can email the city council, the mayor and the idiots who run Seattle Parks. Keep raising hell!

  • Jeannie April 20, 2018 (2:21 am)

    As I recall, Christopher Williams of the Parks Dept. was OK with the idiotic idea of installing a Go Ape zipline in Lincoln Park. It would be nice if our mayor replaces him with someone who really understands our natural treasures and isn’t a career politician. Thank god the proposal was defeated by strong opposition from the community. Bad enough that Trump and his cronies have no respect for science, but Seattle? Oh, and here are some details about Monsanto’s Roundup.

    A state appeals court on Thursday backed California’s listing of the widely used herbicide glyphosate as a possible cause of cancer and the state’s prohibition against discharging it into public waterways.

    The chemical is the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, popular with farmers as well as homeowners. Citing new findings by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, state health officials added glyphosate to their list of potential carcinogens in July 2017 under Proposition 65, a 1986 initiative that requires warnings of exposure to products that pose a risk of cancer or reproductive harm.


    Popular weed killer Roundup, developed by Monsanto, has been on the market since the 1970s and is widely used by farmers and homeowners alike in over 160 countries. Over the past several years, however, Monsanto is now facing over 380 pending lawsuits because the product’s active ingredient glyphosate is believed to cause several types of cancer, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 


    In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic in humans.”


    Neonicotinoid pesticides commonly found in agricultural areas kill bees and hurt their ability to reproduce, two separate large-scale studies confirmed for the first time Thursday.

    The two studies — one that examined honeybees in Canada and the other that looked at three bee species in the United Kingdom, Germany and Hungary — were the first large-scale investigations to test the popular agrochemicals influence on bees in real world settings.

    The new studies say the environmental levels of neonicotinoids surrounding farms do not obliterate bee colonies outright, but instead kill them over extended periods of time. The pesticides also threaten bee queens in particular — which means colonies have lower reproductive rates. 


    In what they claim is the first prospective birth cohort study of its kind, U.S. researchers have linked likely environmental and dietary exposure to glyphosate (N-phosphonomethylglycine), the most heavily used herbicide worldwide, with shorter pregnancies. The study, by researchers at Indiana University and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), found that 93% of a cohort of pregnant women in the central Indiana region had detectable urine levels of glyphosate— the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup®—which correlated with reduced gestation time.

  • Community Member April 20, 2018 (5:50 am)

    Vinegar is not benign. It works as a weed killer because it is an acid. A spray bottle of vinegar does work nicely on weeds growing in sidewalk cracks, precisely because it is deadly and leaves behind an acidified deadly environment. 

  • CanDo April 20, 2018 (7:33 am)

    Tax jobs and spray pesticides on public lands, while touting environmentalism and a “workin’ for the people” kind of city government.   I cannot believe what is happening in our City.  We want to end up with empty buildings plus poisoned pollinators and fish?  What a tarnished future this once glorious City can look forward to…

  • VN April 20, 2018 (7:45 am)

    A poisonous formulation

    But Roundup’s toxicity doesn’t begin and end with glyphosate. Recent data has also shown that this herbicide is made more toxic by the so-called ‘inactive’ ingredients in the formulation

    In a study of Ontario farming populations, exposure to glyphosate nearly doubled the risk of late miscarriages in humans. But, say the researchers, the addition of the ethoxylated surfactant in the Roundup formulation doubled the toxic effect of the glyphosate.

    These inactive ingredients, along with the glyphosate, end up in our food and our animal feed as well – which means it ends up in us too. Yet, no study has yet shown how much of these ‘inactive’ ingredients we also consume when we eat conventionally grown produce and animal products.

    As data like this accumulate, the credibility of those who continue to promote glyphosate and Roundup as being ‘as safe as coffee’, is rapidly disappearing in a toxic cloud of lies and deceit.

    I think an important question being overlooked is the repeated exposure to these toxic chemicals to our park workers.  Famers who routinely use these products show an elevated incidents to cancers and birth defects.  The Parks dept. can find better solutions.

  • Judy Krebs April 20, 2018 (8:47 am)

    I sent the email to the blog. I was frankly stunned by the whole incident. There was an eagle in the tree this morning above where Brad sprayed. It’s just so incredibly misguided. If the parks department believes landscaping requires roundup we should stop landscaping. The fact that he also sprayed it on the sidewalk to get the weeds in the cracks means that dogs had to walk through it. So needless. 

  • john April 20, 2018 (9:31 am)

    If all of us concerned about glyphosates simply bent down and pick a weed or two, the city would have no reason to use them.

    If all of us concerned about round-up complained and boycotted the retailers of it, we would see it dropped from even the big-box stores. 

  • john April 20, 2018 (9:33 am)


    Did you call the number  on the sign and speak to Brad?

    • Judy Krebs April 20, 2018 (12:31 pm)

      No, I talked to Brad in person when he came back to remove the signs. 

  • Gloria April 20, 2018 (1:51 pm)

    Anyone with any common sense knows these pesticides should not be used.  I tried to convince Parks in the past…and they insisted Round-Up isn’t hazardous! 

    Voice your complaint! 

    Email Seattle city council … ,   the complaint will go to the appropriate council that works with Seattle Parks Dept….

    Chair: Debora Juarez Vice Chair: Sally Bagshaw Member: Lorena González  Alternate: Kshama Sawant

    flood the in boxes!   Copy West Seattle Chamber @

     It’s disgusting that they spend our tax dollars to buy this stuff! 

    • WSB April 20, 2018 (1:57 pm)

      I haven’t known the WS Chamber to get involved in park/environmental issues such as this but might also suggest contacting the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners, an advisory board that reviews many issues and projects of interest.

  • Gloria April 20, 2018 (4:11 pm)

     Complain to any and all,  …the more voices heard!

  • anonyme April 22, 2018 (6:52 am)

    As a retired horticultural professional, I can also tell you that these methods are more expensive and less effective than other means.   The fastest and most environmentally friendly way to get rid of weeds in sidewalk cracks and gravel shoulders is with a propane torch.  Spraying weeds in lawns is useless, as you still have to manually pull the dead, brown weed.  If you don’t care how the dead weeds look, why spray in the first place?  Planting and flower beds should always be hand-weeded.   From what I’ve seen, the Parks and SDOT workers are uneducated in horticulture, as are many of their bosses.  As a recent example, I was talking with the sidewalk construction crew,  and they told me their arborist had instructed them to save the “rhododendron” on their map.  The rhodie she’d identified is in fact an invasive laurel.  So much for high-paid city experts.

  • Gloria April 24, 2018 (10:01 am)

    From Seattle Parks Dept –



    you for writing about the application of glyphosate products to weeds in
    Seattle parks.


    Pro—which is what was applied by spray application at Alki Beach Park—has been
    determined to be a low-toxicity product. We limit its use to spot treatments of
    noxious and invasive weeds in instances where manual methods have failed or are
    infeasible in specific areas, and in renovated landscapes to suppress weed
    regrowth. RoundUp Pro has been determined to have very low risk of contact when
    applied correctly, and is well known to break down easily through microbial
    digestion in the environment.


    Pro works by shutting down a plant’s metabolic pathways that produce the
    plant’s growth. RoundUp Pro’s active ingredient is glyphosate. Glyphosate has
    been regulated and evaluated by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and
    other agencies, and has been studied extensively by universities and other
    agencies. Numerous studies have shown that glyphosate does not cause acute
    toxicity, cancer, mutations, endocrine disruption, chronic toxicity, or
    reproductive effects on humans or other animals. Glyphosate is also non-toxic
    to bees, fish, and other aquatic organisms. Glyphosate is broken down
    completely by soil microbes and does not move through soils into groundwater.


    the solution is applied to an individual weed, it is swiftly absorbed into the
    plant stem. It does not stay on the plant surfaces, so there is no residue and
    no runoff potential.  For glyphosate products, the area is safe when the
    product is completely absorbed into the plant and the plant surface is
    completely dry. This takes place in a matter of minutes.


    use no neonicotinoid insecticides in any park landscapes or in our greenhouses.


    more information, please see the attached “Frequently Asked Questions about
    Integrated Pest Management in Seattle Parks and Recreation.”


    thank you for contacting us with your concern.



    Laurie Dunlap

    Superintendent’s Office, Seattle Parks and Recreation



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