County of Marin - News Releases - Integrated Pest Management

For Immediate Release
September 12, 2016

Demystifying Invasive Weed Control in Marin’s Open Space

Two meetings slated for review of integrated pest management efforts

San Rafael, CA – Two public meetings have been scheduled to provide an update of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program in Marin County’s open space. This comes in response to public concern about the methods used to protect Marin County’s open space from aggressive and harmful weeds. By holding these meetings, Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) aims to provide greater transparency and a forum for public input.

Invasive non-native plants are shown infringing on an unpaved trail in Marin.Invasive non-native plants are shown infringing on an unpaved trail in Marin.
The first public meeting will occur at the Parks and Open Space Commission meeting at 3 p.m. September 15 at the Marin County Civic Center’s Planning Chamber (Suite 328), 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael. The second will be at the Open Space Board of Directors meeting at 9 a.m. October 4, at the Civic Center Board Chamber (Suite 330).

“We heard from our community and the Board of Supervisors and we are using many alternatives to herbicides to control weeds on open space,” said Max Korten, MCOSD Acting General Manager. “Only in rare circumstances in protecting the community from the threat of wildfire and protecting Marin’s iconic landscapes and important habitats are we using extremely small, safe amounts of herbicides and only as a method of last resort. In fact, the nearly all of our eradication work utilizes non-herbicide methods.”

From Bolinas Lagoon, designated a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention, to the Tiburon Peninsula, home to rare flowers found nowhere else on earth, the Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) protects Marin’s special places, rare species, and the Marin community.   

One key aspect in protecting the preserves is controlling the 24 harmful invasive plants listed as noxious weeds by the State of California. Invasive weeds such as french broom, pose a major threat to the health of Marin communities and natural resources because of their propensity for fueling catastrophic wildfires and destroying the habitat of rare and endangered plants and animals that make their homes in preserves.

The MCOSD controls noxious weeds using IPM, a decision-making framework that uses a variety of methods to control invasive plants including manually pulling, cutting, burning, tarping, grazing with goats, and control-burn fires.

“Our goal of invasive plant management work is protecting the health of the natural resources and people in Marin,” said Mischon Martin, MCOSD’s Chief of Natural Resources and Science. “That protection effort involves a thoughtful and careful approach uniquely tailored to each weed eradication project. We have embraced IPM methods and want to help the public understand this decision making process while addressing their concerns and encouraging participation.”

In addition to sharing information at the two scheduled meetings, the MCOSD is sharing information about its activities – including the occasional, restricted use of herbicides – through the organization’s website, signage at eradication locations, and its phone hotline, 415-473-BUGS.

“We want to provide the public with complete transparency of what methods we are using to protect the health and safety of the community,” Korten said. “We’ve incorporated citizen oversight and public information efforts. We want to make sure the public knows what we’re doing and invite them to be partners in managing invasive plants in Marin.”


Max Korten
Marin County Parks

Marin Civic Center
Suite 260
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 342-5914
Email: Max Korten