Dual Layer Weed Barrier System deserves fair test

Facts about the Dual Layer Weed Barrier System that the City of Sedona is currently using and which was proposed for a pilot project in the Red Rock Road Enhancement Maintenance (RRREMD) District.

1. What it is:

The Dual Layer Weed Barrier System is a non-toxic alternative to herbicides, successfully being used by the City of Sedona since 2010. It does not use standard weed barrier, but a UV-resistant geotextile and black plastic installed in a specific way to prevent weeds while allowing water and nutrients to reach plant roots. I have used this system for 18 years and observe no deterioration or loss of effectiveness. ADOT has not used this Dual Layer Weed Barrier System.

2. What it is not:

It is not plastic or standard weed barrier used on its own. Their shortcomings are well known. It is not simply standard weed barrier over plastic. The Dual Layer Weed Barrier system is different and has critically important installation steps allowing proper drainage and water penetration around plants.

3. Why it is important:

The Dual Layer Weed Barrier System protects air quality, limits water evaporation from the soil, and supports the health of people, pets, wildlife, bees and pollinators. Big Park residents can choose to avoid Roundup and other herbicides in their food by buying organic. They cannot avoid traveling the RRREMD along Highway 179 in the VOC.

Enhanced Roundup used in the RRREMD is identified as "probably carcinogenic to humans" by the World Health Organization. Pre-emergent herbicides used in the RRREMD are identified as "likely to be carcinogenic to humans" by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The California Environmental Protection Agency has published its intent to change Roundup from "probable carcinogen" to "known to cause cancer."

The EPA classifies all of the herbicides used in the RRREMD as toxic to fish or other aquatic life. Their residues stay potent for up to two months with the risk that heavy rains will wash them into our creeks and rivers.

4. Why we should investigate

non-toxic options:

Sedona installed the Dual Layer Weed Barrier System on Highway 179 in 2010, and due to its success, recently expanded it to Highway 89A.

Speaking of that project, Engineering Supervisor Stephen Craver said, "This same dual layer weed barrier has been placed along State Route 179, and it has shown a significant reduction in required maintenance.... In addition, it eliminates the need for herbicide spraying, which has been a complaint of numerous residents...."

In closing, I've been engaged in herbicide-free landscape research with NAU for 11 years, and have partnered with NAU and Sedona to reduce their herbicide use. Dual Layer Weed Barrier is not the only option to reduce herbicide use.

We owe it to our community and pristine environment to explore available options in controlled field trials to find what works best. Although I'm an elected RRREMD Board member, this article reflects my personal opinion.

For more information, visit "www.paulgazda.com".

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