Eight organizations have been recognized by the Department of Pesticide Regulation as 2007 IPM Innovators. IPM — integrated pest management — promotes natural pest solutions to build a healthier environment that sustains itself with less reliance on chemicals.
"California has taken on more urban and agricultural environmental challenges than any state in the nation," said DPR Director Mary-Ann Warmerdam. "These awards illustrate how we can overcome many pest management problems in ways that re-define the traditional measures of success.
"Our Innovators do more than comply with environmental rules and regulations," Warmerdam continued. "They go the extra mile to create new pest management solutions that are both environmentally friendly and cost-effective. They are truly pioneers, blazing new trails toward a greener, cleaner California."
The eight new IPM Innovators and highlights of their work follow:
The Almond Pest Management Alliance Team
This public-private partnership includes the state Almond Board, growers, University of California Cooperative Extension, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, DPR and the Almond Hullers and Processors Association. The team developed the Seasonal Guide to Environmentally Responsible Pest Management Practices for Almonds based on research and demonstration projects conducted for five years in three primary almond growing areas in the state (Butte, Stanislaus and Kern counties). This first-of-its kind guide advances IPM with concepts that are easily understood and implemented, and it has prompted similar publications for other commodities. The Almond Board received its first Innovator award in 1998 for its environmental leadership.
Breyer’s Vineyard IPM Service, Sonoma County
Breyer’s is a vineyard IPM consultant and contract pest monitoring service for North Coast growers, primarily in Sonoma County. Seasonal interns help with routine work, such as monitoring blue-green sharpshooter traps. Owner Laura Breyer has a long history of conducting grower appellation meetings, PCA breakfasts, organic producer sessions and other educational events. She conducts training sessions for pest identification and monitoring, discusses how and why treatment decisions are made, and encourages growers to share their observations. At an annual field day event in August at Shone Farm, attended by hundreds of growers and members of the public, Breyer provides a comprehensive summary of the season’s pest and disease issues. She also has been a featured speaker on IPM-related topics at conferences and wine grape technical group meetings.
Media contact: Nick Frey, (707) 522-5861, [email protected]
The City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department
Santa Barbara has taken a proactive approach to municipal IPM. In January 2004, a formal IPM strategy was adopted to reduce the use of toxic materials, particularly in parks. IPM is used in airport, golf course and street maintenance; for creek and beach protection, and to maintain a nationally accredited rose garden. Each setting has unique management and pest issues, and all are addressed under the IPM strategy, which also includes visitor education. Pest management tactics include intensive trapping for ground squirrels; managing clover around swimming pools to help avoid bee stings; mow strips and plant bed renovations that eliminate the need for herbicides, and more. The parks division works with a five-member citizen IPM Advisory Committee to implement IPM techniques. Staffers share information with other jurisdictions around the state.
Media contact: Nina Johnson, (805) 564-5307, [email protected]
EcoWise Certified Structural IPM Certification Program, Oakland
EcoWise is a nonprofit program administered by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), and funded under a grant from the State Water Resources Control Board. The program works with regulatory initiatives to prevent insecticide runoff into urban streams from commercial and consumer pesticide use. For example, studies have shown increasing levels of aquatic toxicity in recent years from pyrethroid applications made by commercial applicators and consumers. In 2004, the Berkeley-based Bio-Integral Resource Center (a 1997 IPM Innovator) wrote the Standards for IPM Certification in Structural Pest Management. It became the foundation for the EcoWise certification process for California pest control operators (PCOs) who wanted to pursue IPM training and marketing. More than 40 individual PCOs have received training to date. The program has also made more than two dozen presentations to promote its work. EcoWise’s mission statement: "Improve water quality, environmental and human health and safety by minimizing pesticide use via an IPM certification program."
Media contact: Kathleen Cha, (510) 464-7922, [email protected]
Los Angeles Unified School District
Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) includes 1,155 schools and centers within a 710-square-mile area. Its in-house Integrated Pest Management Program is managed by district staff and governed by a 15-member IPM team that meets monthly. In 1999, LAUSD adopted formal IPM policy and procedures in an effort to reduce and eventually eliminate pesticides in schools. Pest management technicians receive at least 40 hours of IPM training annually. Grounds employees (gardeners, tree surgeons, landscape employees) receive at least four hours training annually, and plant managers receive four hours of instruction per year. Other maintenance, food service employees, and management employees receive periodic training and updates annually. The program stresses prevention — better sanitation, inspections, and beneficial insects — to head off pest problems that, left untreated, could require chemicals. LAUSD received an Innovator award in 1994 as one of the first California school districts to develop and encourage IPM, and its work has helped popularize school IPM practices statewide.
Media contact: Samantha Koos, (213) 241-4871, [email protected]
Locke Ranch Inc., San Joaquin County
This seventh generation family farm, started in 1850, grows 580 acres of walnuts adjacent to the Mokelumne River. Chris Locke has worked closely with U.C. Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor Joe Grant for the last seven years to establish an innovative, sustainable operation. The property uses "puffer" devices to dispense pheromones that disrupt the mating cycle of codling moths, a major walnut pest. With the help of high school students, a hedgerow was planted to attract beneficial insects. Bat houses and owl boxes attract beneficial predators. Cover crops are used to add organic matter to the orchard and fish emulsion is injected through the sprinkler system to supply nutrients, among other IPM strategies. The operation thus minimizes human risks from pesticides, protects water quality and serves as a good neighbor to the community. Locke is very active in university research efforts, and volunteers his orchard for both data collection and field demonstrations.
Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District
This is the largest such district in California, covering 2,013 square miles and protecting 1.6 million residents from mosquitoes, yellow jackets, ticks and other disease vectors. The district uses well-established IPM methods such as surveillance (monitoring), treatment thresholds, biological controls, source reduction through water management and vegetation management, and bio-rational and reduced-risk materials. New to this program are state-of-the-art analysis techniques to provide timely estimates of adult mosquito abundance and various disease levels (West Nile virus, Western Equine Encephalitis, Malaria, and St. Louis Encephalitis), as well as tick-borne Lyme Disease surveillance. The district also works with landowners to time stocking of the mosquito fish in the largest such program in the state, and it has greatly reduced use of larvacides. The district’s public information and education department has developed an extensive public outreach program.
Media contact: Luz Rodriguez, (916) 405-2082, [email protected]
San Diego Healthy Garden-Healthy Home Program
The University of California Cooperative Extension IPM program and the San Diego County Department of Public Works Watershed Protection Program collaborated on this program. It was created to support IPM outreach and education for Project Clean Water, a county forum for exploring regional water quality issues. The program seeks to reduce the use of pesticides in and around homes and keep pesticides out of local waterways. Accomplishments include a groundbreaking partnership with retailers, education and outreach to urban pesticide consumers, research that links pesticide use and environmental consequences, and more. Education and outreach have included special training for UC Master Gardeners, 26 community workshops, and a daylong IPM seminar for Master Gardeners and nursery employees.