Campus Pesticide Use & Stormwater Access

With the warmer spring weather, many of us are enjoying spending more time outdoors, planting gardens and caring for landscape and turf areas. EH&S would like to take this opportunity to remind faculty, staff, students and visitors of the University’s pesticide use policy and stormwater management goals.

The pesticide use policy encourages best management practices that maximize effectiveness and safety, and minimize environmental impact. Pesticides used in research and teaching are expected to abide by the policy’s objectives, although alternative procedures may be acceptable for the purposes of academic study. Visit the pesticide use page to view the current policy, EPA worker protection standard, campus pesticide use announcements, and links to other regulatory agency information.

In addition, the University has traditionally applied fertilizer and herbicides to turf areas and landscape display beds in the general areas of campus and to invasive plants in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve. The Environmental Services-Grounds Department and Lakeshore Nature Preserve are sensitive to the community's concerns regarding the use of herbicides and fertilizers. Therefore, we emphasize that their use is a tool as part of an Integrated Plant Management program. Promoting healthy turf and landscape displays minimizes pesticide use. Promoting diverse biological communities in natural areas minimizes pesticide use for weed control.

Spring rains also result in more stormwater runoff to our lakes and streams. The University strives to meet campus stormwater management goals through a stormwater Illicit Discharge and Elimination program, installation of stormwater best management practices and effective policies and procedures to protect water quality from snow and ice melt as well as lawn and garden fertilizer use on University lands. Additional information can be found on the EH&S Environmental Compliance page.

UW-Madison is also a member of the Madison Municipal Stormwater Area Partnership. The education and outreach division of this partnership,, promotes good stewardship of Dane County lakes and streams through initiatives to ensure only rain goes down storm drains. Visit for more information on rain gardens, rain barrels, home and yard maintenance tips and other ways to positively impact stormwater runoff in your local area.