May 2, 2018

City Auditor’s Office recommends strengthening sustainable maintenance of Parks Department’s natural resources

The City Auditor’s Office released an audit of the Parks and Recreation Department’s environmentally sustainable practices for parkland maintenance. The audit focused on whether the department maximizes the use of environmentally sustainable practices to manage its natural resources.

Auditors concluded that the department has a few sustainable practices to preserve and restore parkland ecology. These practices include the planting of some native or regionally appropriate species, the removal of invasive species, pest management in parkland, and environmental planning for natural areas. Beyond these practices, the department’s park landscape maintenance activities largely focus on park aesthetics in the form of ornamental annual flowers and turf grass, both of which are not environmentally sustainable. Auditors determined that the department does not incorporate sustainable practices into many of the activities required to maintain these landscape features including watering, fertilizer and pesticide use, and mowing activities. In addition, although the department has incorporated some environmentally sustainable practices in its policies related to pesticide application, it does not always follow them.

Auditors also determined that the department does not have measurable goals to guide sustainable management of parkland. Most parkland does not have an environmental resource management plan to guide staff and contractors in the sustainable maintenance unique to a park or park type. Additionally, the department’s operations and maintenance manual does not incorporate sustainable maintenance practices.

The audit includes recommendations to strengthen the department’s sustainable maintenance of parkland natural resources. Management agreed with the recommendations.

View the complete report online at http://kcmo.gov/cityauditor/.

For more information, please contact Douglas Jones, City Auditor, at cityauditor@kcmo.org or (816) 513-3300.