The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), will honor four organizations for their achievements in reducing risk from pesticide use in a public ceremony on Feb. 12, 2018.
“The variety of award winners this year demonstrates that pests—both in agricultural and urban settings—can be managed successfully using effective, low-risk methods,” said DPR Director Brian Leahy. “Integrated pest management is fundamental for managing pests thoughtfully and effectively in California.”
Director Leahy will present the awards at 1:30 p.m. in the Sierra Hearing Room, California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) at 1001 I St. in Sacramento. The ceremony will be webcast at https://video.calepa.ca.gov.
The IPM Achievement Awards recognize organizations that use integrated pest management (IPM) to address the diverse pest management needs throughout California. IPM is a tool that allows people to manage pests by using natural and preventative strategies, and thus reduces the use of chemical pesticides. The awards will be given in the areas of innovation, leadership, and education and outreach.
The 2017 IPM Achievement Award Winners are:
The Citrus Research Board Joint Agency Biological Control Task Force – In 2010, the Citrus Research Board (CRB) established a task force to help control an invasive insect pest called Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), a serious threat to the $3 billion California citrus industry. ACPs, which are as small as a grain of rice, can infect backyard citrus trees (and potentially commercial orchards) with a bacteria that causes a devastating plant disease called Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening disease. There is no cure for HLB and it is fatal to trees. The CRB Joint Agency Biological Control Task Force was created and is comprised of the Citrus Research Board, California Department of Food & Agriculture, University of California-Riverside, the United States Department of Agriculture and Cal Poly-Pomona.
Instead of relying solely on conventional pesticides to fight this insect, the task force developed a program using natural predators as a means of reducing ACP populations. The Task Force imported, reared and studied parasitic wasps from Pakistan that kill ACPs. These wasps are a key part of the first biocontrol program that successfully targeted and reduced ACP populations in urban areas and citrus orchards while replacing large-scale, pesticide-driven campaigns in sensitive urban sites. At this time, the project has been successfully implemented in several counties, including Imperial, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties. The award categories are for innovation and leadership. Media interested in this project may directly contact Carolina Evangelo at 559.738.0246.
Hines Landscaping San Francisco – Four horticultural professionals managing indoor plants in commercial buildings and outdoor gardens in San Francisco make up Hines Landscaping San Francisco. In the 1990’s, Hines Landscaping began transitioning to sustainable landscaping practices in an effort to reduce its chemical footprint. One successful tactic has been to replace synthetic fertilizers by feeding plants a compost tea. To achieve this, the company developed its own vermiculture program, where worms are fed green waste and restaurant scraps from their buildings. The resulting compost tea, applied to plants, has helped to reduce the number of insects and mites attracted to the plants. Today, Hines Landscaping manages its pest flare-ups with strategic pruning, biological controls and using the least toxic chemicals. Its outdoor gardens contain native and drought-tolerant plants chosen to reduce pests while supporting pollinators and beneficial insects. In addition, Hines Landscaping hosts several tours of its gardens and facilities annually to share their innovative pest management practices. Tour attendees include schoolchildren, college students and professional groups. Encouraged by their parent company, Hines Landscaping speaks to other building managers at workshops and forums worldwide to share its innovative pest management practices. The award category is for leadership. Media interested in this project may directly contact Shirley Vaughan at 415-398-8655.
Manteca Unified School District Operations Department – The Operations Department of Manteca Unified School District has helped to improve field conditions for student athletes while reducing the amount of chemical pesticides it uses to tackle harmful pests. These pests include gophers, insects and weeds on school landscaping areas and athletic fields. The department maintains almost 700 acres of property at 32 campuses. In 2014, the proliferation of gopher mounds was an increasing problem on the athletic fields. This led to a dangerous situation for student athletes and increasing reports of injuries suffered from gopher holes and uneven landscapes. Rather than increase the amount of pesticides applied, the Operations Department adjusted its gopher management strategy and started a large-scale gopher-trapping program. By 2016, the Operations Department had cut the number of gopher-targeted pesticide applications in half from their 2014 peak use. Their efforts resulted in the complete elimination of pesticide use for gopher management in 2017. An added bonus was that the money saved by switching to the trapping program was re-invested into repairing the district’s athletic fields! The Operations Department shares its success story with their school community and other school districts throughout the state. The award category is for leadership. Media interested in this project may directly contact John A. Lopez, Supervisor of Grounds, Fields & Landscape Services, at (209) 858-0712.
Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District – The Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District protects the public from mosquitoes, rats, fire ants, and flies on private and public properties such as residential homes, golf courses, parks, rights-of-way, and schools. Between 2014 and 2015, Orange County experienced a period of increased West Nile Virus infections and detected invasive Aedes mosquitoes—a pest that can potentially transmit Zika, dengue fever or other mosquito-borne diseases. In response to this health issue, the district coordinated a campaign to improve communication and community engagement, increase risk awareness, and reduce mosquito populations rather than relying solely on synthetic pesticides to battle mosquitoes. The district implemented a new strategy to train teams that went door-to-door to inspect properties for mosquitoes and educated residents about draining standing water to reduce breeding locations for the pest. From 2015 to 2017, teams inspected more than 40,000 properties. The award category is for education and outreach. Media interested in this project may directly contact Lora Young at (714) 971-2421 x 115.