Parks department: Bothell almost completely pesticide, herbicide-free

The department updated the council on chemical use at a recent council meeting.

The Bothell parks and recreation department is getting closer to making the city almost entirely pesticide and herbicide free.

At the Dec. 3 city council meeting, the department gave a brief presentation and shared a video noting what it’s been doing to reduce Bothell’s chemical footprint over the last few years.

According to parks operations manager Scott Purdy, the department has refrained from using pesticides and herbicides on city property unless the law requires that noxious weeds be removed in the name of public safety.

Purdy said the decision to try to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of chemicals for park maintenance came to the fore after several considerations were made, including industry trends, environmental concerns, the potential health and safety hazards being risked by parks employees and the 2019 council goal to support environmental stewardship and sustainability.

“As awareness concerning these issues continues to grow, we at parks and recreation see the opportunity to reduce and eliminate the use of [herbicides and pesticides]…we see this as an achievable and sustainable goal for our city,” the stated.

Some sustainable practices Bothell has employed, as noted by Purdy, include hand weeding, native plantings, crack sealing, volunteer help and more. According to Purdy, several parks in the city have not seen harmful chemical use in about two years. Overall, there are about 400 acres’ worth of parks in Bothell, with 10 full-time and five seasonal employees performing maintenance.

Councilmembers made their appreciation of the work parks and recreation does clear, and noted that work the department accomplishes is impressive with its number of current employees.

“This has been one of our council goals for the couple years that I’ve been on council,” councilmember Liam Olsen said regarding the intent to eliminate herbicide and pesticide use. “So we really appreciate the parks department making this a reality.”

Councilmember Jeanne Zornes, who said that she herself is an avid gardener, admires the work the department does.

“You guys are one of my heroes…you strengthen us in more ways than you realize,” she said.

For the full conversation around sustainable parks maintenance practices in Bothell, go to For more information about the city’s sustainability program, go to