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How Manteca Schools Solved A Gopher Problem Without Pesticides

John Lopez, Manteca Unified School District Supervisor for Landscape Services.


Manteca Unified School District has 32 campuses covering 700 acres. Under many of those acres are gophers, and with gophers come the holes and mounds from football fields to playgrounds.

John Lopez, supervisor of landscape services for the district, said those holes proved to be dangerous. 

“Between the mower running over them and the kids running over them, walking over them and playing, they would be tripping hazard," Lopez said.

Pesticides can kill gophers, but Lopez said that would have required putting signs with a skull and crossbones on fences to warn of the poison danger.

Instead, the school went with a trapping program.

“Right now, we’ll get about 350 a month, and in the last 6 months, it was over 2,000,” Lopez said.

An added bonus is that the district saved money by trapping, enough to put back into repairing the athletic fields.

Their efforts in avoiding pesticide use have earned them a top award from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

Rich Ibarra

Contributing Central Valley/Foothills Reporter

As the Central Valley correspondent, Rich Ibarra covers San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced counties, along with the foothill areas including Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. He covers politics, the economy and issues affecting the region.   Read Full Bio 

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