Vegetation along roadsides is managed for a number of reasons including maintaining visibility for drivers, reducing water on the roadway, protecting longetivity of the road surface, and minimizing fire danger.
IVM relies on consideration of all methods for controlling vegetation. Economics is also part of the decision making process. Arbitrarily discounting a pest control method upsets the balance of IPM. Mowing, use of beneficial insects, plant selection and herbicides are all appropriate tools depending on the site, funds available and management goals. Costs can be managed more effectively when they are prioritized within an IVM program. Prioritization ensures that the most important activities happen first.
Maintain the Public’s Investment in Infrastructure
Operate Within Budget Limitations
Protect worker Safety
Minimize Environmental Impacts
Depending on the terrain, traffic flow and other factors, mowing can be hazardous for both workers and drivers.
Stevens County Weed Board photo
Herbicides are strictly regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). This law has been amended by Congress several times to create an increasingly comprehensive regulatory system.
On average, only one in 20,000 chemicals makes it from the laboratory to market. To ensure that a product, when used properly, will not present health or environmental concerns, it must pass to up to 120 separate tests. Pesticide development, testing and EPA approval takes eight to 10 years and costs manufacturers $35 million to $50 million for each product.
In addition to the above requirements for new herbicides, all older herbicides must go through extensive testing and re-registration to be allowed to stay on the market.
Safety is the overriding consideration in pesticide research and development. When used properly, products must not create an unreasonable risk to the user, the environment or the public. EPA requires that pesticide labels list precise application methods, doses and specific instructions to assure safety. Workers who apply herbicides are required by law to be trained, licensed and keep strict records.
Herbicides have been used for more than fifty years to successfully manage a wide variety of weeds and other roadside vegetation. Herbicides are designed to affect plants. Most have no effect on people, pets or wildlife.