William Land Park Views

William Land Park Views:

Bare Soils, Erosion, Runoff, Runaway Herbicide Use, Loss of Majestic Redwoods, Dust Storms

This blog began back in late March, of 2022 – as an appendix and then addendum, to my Public Comments to the City of Sacramento.

I’ve walked a few thousand miles around Curtis Park and Land Park. I’ve observed a faster pace of operations through the Park Avenues, across tree roots, and the over-use of GBH (glyphosate based herbicides). There’s also an increased use of industrial sized trailer mounted blowers (creating an Airborne Pollutant index off the charts – localized around Land Park – or maybe a Park near you).

8:20 AM on a beautiful June morning.

This new post, along with images and short videos, focuses on known transport mechanisms of herbicide residues of Glyphosate & AMPA into deeper layers of soils, surface waters, groundwater aquifers, and up the stems of trees, at Land Park, Curtis Park, and other Sacramento Area Parks, and Open Spaces. There is a plethora of recent research, documenting Glyphosate herbicide application, the persistence of AMPA in SOILS AND WATER, and resulting negative environmental impacts beyond target vegetation, due to chronic sub-lethal exposure.

Those aren’t Crop Circles around the trees – those are Herbicide Circles.

While rather long and slightly complex, it begins and ends with concerns for safe drinking water, and the very real possibility for contamination of surface water and groundwater – both of which are treated and used for drinking water in the Sacramento Valley. But there are no enforceable DRINKING WATER safety limits, or Maximum Contaminant Levels, (MCL) for the major breakdown metabolite of glyphosate; AMPA, or aminomethylphosphonic acid.



*AMPA is 3-6 fold times more toxic than glyphosate.

“The contaminants with enforceable standards in California are generally comparable to Federal mandated standards by the US EPA, … although several contaminants are regulated by the State of California for which no federal standard currently exists.”

“California administers a state-wide ‘unregulated contaminant’ monitoring rule program which requires routine monitoring and reporting. The State of California also has established a series of notification levels for 29 unregulated contaminants.“ Glyphosate is listed, *AMPA is not listed.

Page 30 of 217 (June 2010)



Residues, Soil Penetration, and Runoff

In 2018, it was conclusively proved in field tests that “herbicide formulations, i.e. the products that are actually used in the field, are more detrimental to tadpoles and other aquatic organisms than the active ingredient glyphosate itself. “


Glyphosate Based Herbicide Residues – Persistence and Mobility in the Environment

There is reasonable concern of documented negative impacts to fish, amphibians, and semi-aquatic reptiles, by herbicide residue runoff into ponds, into street gutters and wastewater streams and rivers.

There’s bare soils surface erosion, which disperses the herbicide mix and its metabolite to adjacent non-target landscapes, and the runoff travels far… across sidewalks, over curbs into street drainages and into wastewater streams.

Water runoff is reclaimed and recycled for beneficial uses-

Don’t be fooled by the sales pitch for reclaimed water using a select view of history- “It has been safely reused in California for more than 100 years.”

‘Safely reused’ for agricultural purposes, with complete separation from potable drinking water supplies.

But adding reclaimed water to our groundwater aquifers is new.

How many folks are aware of the recent Sacramento Area plan to recharge our groundwater aquifer with recycled wastewater- both surface waters and wastewater streams – just like those mentioned above – by pumping it down wells, into the groundwater aquifer? (this is planned Statewide)


Park Safety – How Many Days A Year is it safe to go to the Park without risking exposure to noise pollution (above 65dB at 100 feet) air pollution, herbicide overspray, recycled irrigation water that contains potential carcinogens or hormone disrupters to both children and pets? (Other States post WARNINGS to keep pets and children from playing in the recycled water pumped through irrigation lines at Parks).

BARE SOILS AND EROSION – Airborne Contaminants

The soil erosion – as dirt, dust, and contaminants (from herbicide residues, and street pollutants such as microscopic tire wear particulates, petroleum residues and disc brake emissions, also becomes airborne in the spring and summer; as it all is blown into the air by Sacramento Area Parks And Recreation deployment of industrial scale, mounted tractor blowers – coating the trees and leaves – maybe the linings of our lungs too.

A public health hazard, Spring, Summer and into Fall, that’s easily avoided.

Perhaps worse though, are the myriad routes of combined contaminant pollution to our biome.

Up, Down, All Around

Vertical movement through the soil layers occurs after applications of Glyphosate Based Herbicide treatments with familiar names like: Roundup, Ranger Pro, Generic Roundup, Roundup Lite

Half-lives and Chronic Exposure

Recent research looks at half-lives, the persistence in soil/sediments, and the pervasiveness of glyphosate and AMPA across the agricultural and urban landscapes. Long-term studies of AMPA (as the major breakdown metabolite of glyphosate), have led to new understandings of negative impacts to naturalized biological communities. Far different conclusions are reached in studies compiling longer term results, from field research based upon samplings of chronic exposures (as opposed to the acute exposure studies provided by industry).

One must also recognize that there are two, Glyphosates. The “technical Glyphosate” and the “formulated Glyphosate” – the latter of which is used in the field, and includes proprietary chemicals as adjuvants, to make the non-soluble “technical Glyphosate” soluble in water, and thus move through the cells of vascular plants. Trees are vascular plants.

Tree Roots

“Roots serve many roles in supporting all plant life, including trees. They take up water and nutrients from the soil, allowing them to move into and through a tree’s transport system to reach all of its parts. According to Utah State University, when glyphosate is applied to an undesirable plant and kills it, the dying plant releases some of the chemical back into the soil through its roots. Tree roots in the area can take up some of this chemical, either by contact with the roots of the dying plant or by directly taking up residual glyphosate from the soil.”

Effect on Tree Health

“Glyphosate can significantly damage the overall health of a tree that absorbs it into its roots. The compound interferes with uptake of several important micronutrients, including manganese, zinc, iron and boron, elements that help support the tree’s ability to resist disease.“

“Investigators at Cornell University found that using glyphosate to control weeds under apple trees affected the quality of the fruit, causing harvested apples to develop brown internal areas and spoil quickly in storage.”


Known Impacts Of Overuse Of Glyphosate in Agriculture and Forestry

(From the chemical industries and farmers, and Agricultural Extensions and University Studies)

Glyphosate is non-selective, and accidental overspray to desirable plants can be devastating. This is especially true for young trees that have thin bark, and often have chlorophyll in their bark.

“Glyphosate is a systemic herbicide that moves through the phloem and accumulates in the roots. However, when accidentally over-sprayed onto the thin or pigmented bark of young trees, glyphosate accumulates in the phloem and can take years to break down, as it is then translocated to the roots along with the sugars in the fall. “

“When sap rises the following spring, it carries the glyphosate along with it, causing a variety of symptoms: witches brooms, cupping, stunted growth, chlorosis, and bark splitting. The injury can continue a number of years after the misapplication.” (Dr. Hannah Mathers… OSU research)

Photosynthesis – Translocation

Basically speaking: Plant nutrients are synthesized in the greenest, and leafy parts of a plant. The non-green parts are dependent on the photosynthetic cells for nourishment. The food, in the form of sucrose is transported by the vascular tissue phloem.

“But in Spring, before the leaves are grown, the sugar stored in roots is mobilized upward in the Xylem, and moves towards the growing shoots and buds of new leaves and flowers. “

Formulations of Glyphosate Based Herbicides leave behind eco-toxilogical residues and metabolites, (i.e., AMPA) with known persistence in soils and water, negatively impacting species life cycles across overlapping timelines, reducing population metrics of species ecology and function, leaving behind a legacy of chronic sub-lethal effects on soil organisms, non-target vegetation, trees, non-target species of algae, amphibians, reptiles, fish, mammals – all in a plethora of slow extinction pathologies.

“After penetrating the leaves, glyphosate will reach active metabolic sites, such as root and shoot meristems, after being translocated to vascular tissues.”

“Plant organs with high rates of metabolism and growth, such as nodules, root tips, and shoot apices, represent important sinks for glyphosate and AMPA..”

“Once in root tissues, glyphosate and AMPA can reach active metabolic sites such as the shoot meristems through xylem conduction.”

To understand how glyphosate moves through plants, blocking enzymes, resulting in death, let us first recognize that vascular plants require Xylem and Phloem.

Meet Xylem and Phloem

“Xylem and Phloem move water and nutrients throughout the plant tissues and organs in what is called a vascular bundle, promoting growth.”

Phloem tissues are tubular-shaped, elongated structures, with the presence of walls with thin sieve tubes – that are located on the outer side of the vascular bundle. Whereas, the Xylem tissues are the tubular-shaped structure, with the absence of any cross wall, located in the centre of the vascular bundle.

Phloem fibers are larger than Xylem.

Whereas “Xylem are present in roots, stems and leaves. Phloem are present in stems and leaves, and in roots, fruits and seeds.”

Movement in the xylem tissue is essentially a one-way acropetal (upward) movement from the roots via the transpiration stream.

In contrast, substances in the phloem have bidirectional movement; and movement may be acropetal or basipetal (downward).

“The Xylem, transport soluble mineral nutrients and water molecules from the roots to the aerial parts of the plant. The Phloem, transport food and other nutrients including sugar and amino acids from leaves to storage organs and growing parts of the tree.”

“The Phloem is responsible for transporting proteins and mRNAs throughout the plant. The Xylem is responsible for replacing the total amount of lost water molecules through transpiration and photosynthesis. To do this, the Xylem tissues transport minerals and water from the roots and carry them to other parts of the plants through two separate chambers – tracheids and vessels – transporting minerals and water.”

The Phloem tissues transport nutrients and food from leaves to other growing parts of plants.

For a splendidly deep discussion of:

Translocation – Xylem & Phloem

“Translocation is the movement of materials from leaves to other tissues throughout the plant. Plants produce carbohydrates (sugars) in their leaves by photosynthesis, but non-photosynthetic parts of the plant also require carbohydrates and other organic and nonorganic materials. For this reason, nutrients are translocated from sources (regions of excess carbohydrates, primarily mature leaves) to sinks (regions where the carbohydrate is needed). Some important sinks are roots, flowers, fruits, stems, and developing leaves. Leaves are particularly interesting in this regard because they are sinks when they are young and become sources later, when they are about half grown.”

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We All Enjoy Green Parks

Ever wonder about the bare soil areas under the trees, or the bare soil acres along the edges of Park Pathways, and neighborhood Avenues?

It’s caused by the application of glyphosate based herbicide.

Unnatural, and unnecessary!

This next video, taken at William Land Park, depicts regular watering schedules and obvious routes as transport mechanisms- soil penetration, and run-off, by the Glyphosate based herbicide Ranger Pro (date of recent application 040622). Ranger Pro is used by the City to spray parks, and is affectionately known as RoundUp Lite! As Glyphosate breaks down into its major metabolite, AMPA (which persists far longer than glyphosate), its movement through soils, and over bare soil surfaces, can easily be understood.

What happens when residual herbicide contaminants reach the water table?

What happens when residual herbicide contaminants reach shallow surface waters, like the ponds at Parks? The Park Ponds are often used to irrigate Park lawns and trees, like the sprinklers that pets and kids play through, which helps to keep the pond water clean, by cycling, the water.

There’s So Much More

“Under aerobic conditions, the halflife of Glyphosate ranges from 1.8 to 109 days in soil and 14–518 days in water-sediment systems; however, in anaerobic water-sediment systems it ranges from 199 to 208 days. Nevertheless, according to the published data the halflife of Glyphosate ranges from 7 to 14 days.”

“Glyphosate contamination has emerged as a pressing issue because of its high-water solubility and extensive usage in the environment (especially in shallow water systems). Therefore, the exposure of nontarget aquatic organisms to these herbicides is a concern of ecotoxicologists.”

“AMPA has a lower water solubility and longer soil halflife than glyphosate. The presence of AMPA in freshwater, sediment, and suspended particulate is commonly measured in significant quantities, and even more frequently than glyphosate.”

The link below takes one to a scientific review that “summarizes current knowledge about residual glyphosate and its major metabolite AMPA in the aquatic environment, including its status and toxic effects in aquatic organisms, particularly fish. The toxic effect of glyphosate and its major metabolite AMPA has mainly influenced growth, early development, oxidative stress biomarkers, antioxidant enzymes, haematological, and biochemical plasma indices and also caused histopathological changes in aquatic organisms.”

“Generally, the mobility and concentration of glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) are mainly influenced by their bioavailability, bioaccumulation, persistence, ecotoxicity, and transfer into the aquatic environment.”

“AMPA is 3-6 fold times more toxic than glyphosate.”

“On the one hand, the soil has functioned as storage; on the other hand, these contaminants leach below the root zone into groundwater. Glyphosate is also transported by runoff into surface water and consequently accumulated in sediment where glyphosate can be highly mobile.” Full text


Groundwater Contamination

Here, in Sacramento, we are living on the Floodplain of the Sacramento River Basin.

“Groundwater levels in the city of Sacramento are reported to be stable at 20-40 feet above mean sea level (msl) (Sacramento Groundwater Authority 2003, cited in City of Sacramento 2005). In the Natomas Basin, groundwater levels vary seasonally with precipitation and runoff in this area and may rise closer to the ground surface during wet years. In addition, groundwater levels are influenced locally by pumping as the groundwater is withdrawn regularly during spring and summer for irrigation, and throughout the year for general use by most of the local growers; as a result, groundwater is generally higher in March and lower in October. “ See p7


What is the Groundwater Elevation?

The elevation of the groundwater, or water table, above mean sea level at any selected location.

The elevation of The City of Sacramento is between 43-47 feet. And it is the distance to the groundwater that is critical, as well as the soil type, and sub-surface hydrology.

What Is The Water Table?

“The approximate upper surface of the saturated zone is referred to as the water table. Water in the saturated zone below the water table is referred to as ground water. Below the water table, the water pressure is high enough to allow water to enter a well as the water level in the well is lowered by pumping, thus permitting ground water to be withdrawn for use.”

This 2016 Groundwater Elevation Contour map shows that the water table is just above mean sea level north of the American River, nearest the City of Sacramento.


The lowest ground elevation at William Land Park, shows to be 26 feet above mean sea level, and can be found here.


Groundwater Table Contours

“Groundwater found below the water table comes from precipitation that has seeped through surface soil.
*The water table is an underground boundary between the soil surface and the area where groundwater saturates spaces between sediments and cracks in rock.
*The soil surface above the water table is called the unsaturated zone, where both oxygen and water fill the spaces between sediments.
*Underneath the water table is the saturated zone, where water fills all spaces between sediments. The saturated zone is bounded at the bottom by impenetrable rock.”

“The shape and height of the water table is influenced by the land surface that lies above it; it curves up under hills and drops under valleys.”

“The water table level can vary in different areas and even within the same area.”

“Fluctuations in the water table level are caused by changes in precipitation between seasons and years. During late winter and spring, when snow melts and precipitation is high, the water table rises.”

This next image shows the Central Basin, south of the American River, and near the City of Sacramento, east past Carmichael, Fair Oaks, and Orangevale, out to Folsom, and south past Elk Grove towards Galt.

From Sacramento Central Groundwater Authority Groundwater Elevation Monitoring Plan February 2012 p11


Is there really any doubt that Glyphosate, and AMPA reach our precious groundwater aquifers? And if not by natural infiltration, then soon by direct pumping into wells to recharge those basins of the 515 groundwater basins Statewide that are most critically depleted.

From the Public Policy Institute of California

“The state’s 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act gives local agencies the tools and authority they need to develop and implement plans that will bring their basins into balance. The most stressed basins have until 2020 to adopt plans to achieve groundwater sustainability over a 20-year period.”

“California’s groundwater basins can store large volumes of additional water—at least three times more than the state’s existing dams. There is ample room for replenishment in overdrafted basins. Groundwater basins can be “recharged” by spreading water on fields to percolate through the soil and injecting water into wells.”

Using data from California Department of Water Resources;

“Under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, groundwater users in critically overdrafted basins must adopt sustainability plans by 2020 and attain sustainable management within 20 years; other priority basins must adopt plans by 2022. In all, 127 basins, accounting for 96 percent of annual groundwater pumping, are considered priority basins that must comply within this time frame.”

“Groundwater contamination is a growing water quality problem.”


Curbside Runoff

Consider this:

The 2020 Sacramento Urban Water Management Plan Guidebook Appendix M, states:

“Title 22 (California Code of Regulations, Division 4, Chapter 3, Section 60301 et seq.) is the regulation overseeing reuse or “recycling” of municipal wastewater to protect public health.”

“A key component of incorporating municipal recycled water into water supply is aligning potential uses to the availability of various levels of treated municipal recycled water. “

Along with collection of wastewater streams (reclaimed or recycled urban runoff) regulations have been established for groundwater recharge with recycled water (2014-2016).

Really, I think here the plan is to reduce the residual contaminant level, or concentration in ppm, by mixing, and diluting, and dissipating…. And I just want to mention here, pharmaceuticals and personal care products cannot be fully removed by advanced treatment.

“Indirect potable reuse occurs when tertiary or advanced treated wastewater augments drinking water resources.”

There are two types of indirect potable reuse:

“Indirect potable reuse for groundwater recharge, where recycled water recharges a groundwater basin and groundwater is later extracted from the basin.”

“Surface water augmentation, where recycled water is added into a surface water reservoir used as a source of domestic drinking water supply.”

“Potable use does not actually occur until the water is subsequently pumped from the ground or withdrawn from the reservoir, treated, and added to the drinking water distribution system.” Page 9 of 31


Oh, and there will be new parcel fees and use fees for this groundwater.

It’s a brave new world… well, actually it’s a “made new world” and we reap what we sow. This post will be need to be continued… Reclaimed water, used for Parks and Open Spaces, is known to kill Redwoods. And thus it is projected that Redwoods will disappear from popular, urban landscapes.

And that takes us back full circle to where this blog began – Land Park Is Losing Its Majestic Redwoods.

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Tom DiFiore

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