Sustainable Dover – creating a more sustainable future?

In 2005, Dover, New Hampshire city officials adopted the Sustainable Dover initiative. As explained in the introduction on the city website:

‘In 2005 the City of Dover embarked on creating a more sustainable future through an array of policy decisions and municipal activities to begin to address many aspects of sustainability. These past efforts have taken a traditional compartmentalized approach based on an array of resource conservation actions undertaken in specific City Departments, through individual employee initiatives, and through committees and commissions that operate relatively independently of each other.

Going forward, the City of Dover recognizes the need to comprehensively coordinate sustainability efforts across the municipality.

The Department of Planning & Community Development is currently in the process of coordinating a cohesive approach to sustainability for the City through the development of a municipal Sustainability Plan & Sustainable Dover initiatives.’


The Cocheco river.

Sounds pretty good! It’s based on a national program known as the STAR Sustainability Goals and Guiding Principles. From their website:

‘The STAR Community Index Sustainability Goals and Guiding Principles represents a milestone in the national movement to create more sustainable, livable communities. The Goals set a new national standard, and serve as an invaluable resource for local governments.’

Awesome, right? Basically the whole idea is to give local governments a universal plan so that sustainability efforts across the country will be congruent. This is certainly a welcome plan, and it’s adoption should be commended. Dover has made efforts even prior to 2005, regarding energy and water conservation. And they have the right attitude regarding climate change as evidenced by this climate change workshop held at the McConnell Center. This is great stuff, and we should all support its continuation and encourage more of it. However, when it comes to the issue of pesticides, the Sustainable Dover initiative is lagging far behind.

The Sustainable Dover Framework states in goals two and three specifically:

  • 2.  What we make does not build up and harm nature or people. (Reduce dependence on chemicals and other manufactured substances that can accumulate in nature.)
  • 3.  We protect natural systems from degradation. (Reduce dependence on activities that harm life-sustaining eco-systems.)

Are the contractors hired by the city to care for our public spaces meeting these standards?

Pesticides being used by Dover municipal contractors Piscataqua Landscaping and Green Grass Lawn Care are:

acelepryn – has replaced imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid) in 2013 as the insecticide in use for grub control because of efforts made by Non-Toxic Dover.

glyphosate herbicide aka LESCO Prosecutor

glyphosate & prodiamine

pelargonic acid aka Scythe herbicide

glyphosate as RoundUp Original MAX

glyphosate as RoundUp Promax

2,4,D, MCPP-p, Dicamba as LESCO Three-way selective herbicide

prodiamine plus synthetic fertilizer as Signature Evade for crabgrass

Products used by the Dover school system contractor Boston Company, on athletic fields and school property include:

isoxaben as Gallery for broadleaf weeds

Lesco 3-way for broadleaf weeds

Tupersan (siduron) for crabgrass

Tupersan pre-emergence herbicide, plus turf food

Acelepryn for grub control

Dylox (trichlorfon) for grub control

along fence lines:


Pendulum (pendimethalin)


28-0-8 40% xcu, 1fe

That’s a whole lot of manufactured substances! Why, in 2015, a whole decade later – are we still stuck in this synthetic chemical dependent paradigm? Why, when other local municipalities are successfully dumping pesticide use in favor of organic, natural or integrated pest management is Dover using tax dollars on methods that don’t fit in with Sustainable Dover goals or framework?

Over this past summer our neighbors to the north, Ogunquit, Maine voters, passed a ban curtailing the use of lawn and garden pesticides on both public and private land. They recently upheld it again with a second majority passing vote in November 2014. When it comes down to it, people want a safe environment. It’s reasonable to assume that Dover residents want to see these goals become not just words on a corner of the city webpage, but a reality in practice. The members of Non-Toxic Dover, NH are working toward steering our city decision makers in the direction that Marblehead, MA and Ogunquit, ME have taken. The more of us that speak up about this issue, the faster we will see results.

If you’d like to help, sign our petition or join us on facebook.



About NonToxicDoverNH

Advocating for safe and healthy public spaces for Dover, New Hampshire residents.
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