We are a grass-roots, watch-dog community organization promoting awareness of and alternatives to pesticides and other risks to our watershed, public health and environment.

One significant risk is Caltrans' broadcast roadside spraying of herbicides which we are working to end.  Other states, counties and cities have banned broadcast pesticide spraying in public areas including roadways. In California, Topanga Canyon residents, successfully negotiated with Caltrans to end broadcast roadside herbicide spraying (read the agreement here).  We can achieve this with your help, increasing public pressure, publicity, and collaborating with our elected representatives and Caltrans.

Since 2006, we've worked to end the broadcast roadside spraying of herbicides. This is a practice for weed management with many significant health and environmental risks, performed 2-3 times a year with no warnings required.  Broadcast spraying is done from a truck with multiple hoses spraying 3-5 foot areas along roads and drainage ditches which empty into local creeks and the ocean. 

Herbicides used include: ​View Caltran's Records of Broadcast Spraying

  1. RoundUp --->  MSDS
  2. Accord XRT ll --->  MSDS
  3. Activator 90 --->  MSDS
  4. Milestone VM --->  MSDS
  5. Matrix SG --->  MSDS
  6. EsplAnade 200 SC --->  MSDS
  7. Surflan ---> ​ MSDS
  8. ​Garlon 4 Ultra ---> MSDS
  9. Gallery 75 DF ----> MSDS
  10. Capstone  ----> MSDS
  11. Payload ----> MSDS
  12. ​Dimension Ultra 40 WP ---->  MSDS

​View the Endangered Species at Risk From Pesticides in the Bay Area

Mowing and mechanical removal of vegetation is most effective for road maintenance, visibility, and fire prevention without the toxic risk! 

For years, we collected petition signatures, wrote letters, attended meetings,  and built awareness of this crucial  issue.  On March 13, 2012, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors passed the Resolution ending broadcast  herbicide/pesticide spraying on county roads and in county parks (see video below).  

Spot spraying of herbicides is still allowed and is the responsible way to use these chemicals, especially for the control of pre and post emergent invasive plant species. Spot spraying is applying these chemicals manually, as opposed to broadcast spraying from the sprayer truck. Full grown invasive plant species should be removed manually. 

Caltrans continues to broadcast spray herbicides 2-3 times a year on State roads within SMC.  Most people do not know when and where this occurs or what has been sprayed.  SMC is part of Caltrans' District 4 (click here to see map). Caltrans maintains the following SMC State Highways:

  • Highway 280
  • 101
  • 92
  • 82 (El Camino Real )
  • 35 (Skyline Blvd)
  • 84 (Woodside Rd./La Honda Rd.)
  • Highway 1 

Caltrans once stated that broadcast spraying is NOT done on Highway 1, yet on Oct. 11 & 17, 2015, broadcast spraying was witnessed and confirmed by Caltrans. In order to get the facts, in 2017, POW 
submitted to Caltrans a Request for Public Records regarding the herbicide spraying history from Jan. 2016 --May 2017 on Hwys. 1, 84, 35, 92, and 280.

As the records show, thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals have been broadcast sprayed for hundreds of miles, including "80% of Hwy. 280" (Caltrans' Jeff Weiss) with NO public notifications.​​  The photo to the right is broadcast spraying on Hwy. 280 SB, near Edgewood Road, on Sept. 13, 2017

It seems Caltrans understands the importance of protecting watersheds. Then how is broadcast herbicide spraying along roadways within watersheds consistent with their "Protect Every Drop" video campaign?

City and county governments have no jurisdiction over Caltrans, a state agency.  We need our elected officials to REQUEST that Caltrans end broadcast spraying on SMC roadsides.  That is how it has been achieved in other areas.  Those areas include:

It's time for San Mateo County to join that list.  

How can you help? Take a few moments right now to Sign our petition and end roadside spraying in San Mateo County.

petition - to STOP caltrans SPRAYING IN SAN MATEO COUNTY

Photo credit: Patty Mayall, POW Director