Thurston County’s Board of County Commissioners voted 3-0 last week to ban the use of neonicotinoid insecticides on the property that it manages and owns. The ban affects 77 acres of county facilities, 2,646 acres of parks, 47.1 miles of trails and one mile of right-of-way landscape.
As such the county has become the county government in Washington state to protect pollinators. The use of neonicotinoids has come increasingly under fire as the the chemical is highly toxic to honey bees and bumblebees.
“I’m just elated,” said Mark Emrich, president of the Washington State Beekeepers Association. “I think it’s incredibly gutsy.”
“I really think that municipalities are really starting to take on the role of it,” said Emrich, of Rochester . “If the EPA and the USDA aren’t going to take this on, we’re going to protect our own backyard.”
“The goal of it is to send a big message to the public,” Thurston County commissioner Sandra Romero said. “… We feel that it is a big enough issue and there could be a crisis if we have more bee colony collapses, more sick hummingbirds, more loss of our bats. All of the pollinators are in jeopardy.” “We really think that the public, when they know and they have the information, will make the right choice,” she said. “We want to be known as a pollinator-friendly community.”
The county is working with the cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater, as well as LOTT, the Port of Olympia and the Nisqually Land Trust to extend the ban to their managed lands.