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River-Friendly Pest Control

Did you know that the pesticides that you use on your lawn and garden can end up in our creeks and rivers where they are not only a threat to aquatic life, but can also end up in our drinking water? Half of the pesticides in our water are the result of urban pesticide use (agricultural use makes up the other half).

River-Friendly Landscaping (RFL) encourages the implementation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices in the landscape.

What is IPM?

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an approach to managing pests that combines

  • a healthy landscape environment thereby reducing pest populations, with
  • the use of pesticides only when clearly necessary, using the least toxic chemicals

IPM benefits include

  • more effective, longer lasting pest control
  • reduced risks to humans, pets, and wildlife
  • improved water quality

First, reduce the likelihood of pest problems by creating a healthy environment for your plants and beneficial insects. Remember, healthy plants have fewer pests. Create a healthy landscape by incorporating RFL principles. For example:

  • Select plants appropriate for the location. Give them enough room to grow to their full size without crowding. See Right Plant, Right Place!
  • Promote healthy soil. See Nurture the Soil.
  • Encourage "good" bugs by providing plant variety and including flowering plants in your landscape. Not all insects are pests. Some insects are beneficial to the landscape because they keep pests in check. See Good Bugs.

Second, use pesticides only when clearly necessary and then use the least toxic method available. Rethink what constitutes a pest problem. Even healthy landscapes will have a few chewed leaves or several "bad" insects. Pesticide use is only appropriate when pest populations get out-of-balance. For specific information on managing pests and minimizing pesticide use, visit these sites:


Is your landscape River-Friendly?
Use our benefits calculator to find out.

Here are some more in depth articles on specific RFL topics that you might find of interest:

Contest Winner

RFL Inspiration Garden

RFL Examples

Rain Gardens

Mulch, Grasscycling, and Compost

Get Mulching

Fertilize Naturally — Is Feeding Frenzy Really Needed?

Plant Trees, Save Energy!

Right Plant, Right Place!

Plant Selection

Plant Communities

Take Action to Save Water Outdoors…

Lawn Care: How Green is Your Grass?

Rethink Your Lawn

Pests Bugging You?

River-Friendly Pest Control

Managing Common Pests

Good Bugs

Interview about RFL (MP3)

Choose California natives first

Don't Blow It!

Reducing Outdoor Asthma Triggers


Watch the YouTube video
"Slow the Flow - Make Your Landscape Act Like a Sponge"
to learn about the importance of landscaping to stormwater quality.

The Seven Principles of
River-Friendly Landscaping

Click on any section to learn more