UC IPM increases activity in natural resources pest management
by Jim Stapleton, coordinator for natural resources IPM
The UC IPM Strategic Plan recognizes the need to increase activity in the natural resources pest management arena, and we have begun to expand in this area.
Initially, our primary product will be a set of Web links to online UC IPM and other ANR or government resources that relate to IPM in natural environments. The goal is to create a centralized information resource similar to the ones for agriculture and urban IPM, and focus on education and prevention of pest problems.
Pest management needs in natural areas are diverse and widespread. The focus is typically on invasive species and habitat restoration. UC IPM has been involved in natural resources pest management research for several years through the UC Exotic/Invasive Pests and Diseases Research Program. However, there has been no organized outreach to accompany the research.
Appointment of a coordinator for natural resources IPM aims to remedy that gap in information and technology transfer with a high potential benefit to UC programs and external clientele, but at a low cost in scarce UC IPM resources.
The new coordinating position was initially proposed as an associate director. However, based on recommendations from the 2006 program review panel, Natural Resources IPM will be scaled back temporarily to coordination of educational efforts to accommodate the higher priority of new urban IPM efforts.
Currently, the primary pest management issue in natural resource systems is invasive species, and this will likely be the case for many years. California is a major commercial and cultural hub with several busy international airports and shipping ports, as well as heavy interstate and international ground transport, that can easily allow the importation of new and invasive pests.
The introduction of exotic pests that endanger native plants, animals and human health, and degrade environmental or aesthetic quality is a constant and pervasive threat. These invasive pests may be terrestrial, marine, or aquatic, and often are undetected for long periods of time before a problem is discovered. By then, serious consequences to California’s natural areas may already have occurred, and emergency programs must be enacted to reduce damage. With its experience, reputation and in-place programs, UC IPM is in a unique position to address and improve education and coordination in the natural resources pest management arena.
The audience for the effort is large and diverse. Currently, programs are available for invasive weeds, as well as for certain arthropods and plant diseases, and smaller programs for problems such as wildlife pests and invasive marine and freshwater organisms. We expect to create a centralized information resource for California landowners, operators and managers of wildland, freshwater and marine areas.
The new effort will focus primarily on education and prevention of pest management problems in California’s natural areas. However, when action is called for, especially for invasive species outbreaks, UC IPM will perform its usual role by coordinating research and educational programs. To identify priorities, we will get feedback at meetings and by surveying UC scientists who work in natural resources.
The initial objectives of the UC IPM natural resources program will be to:
Stapleton's initial duties and responsibilities as coordinator for natural resources IPM include:
New process refines agricultural IPM resources and outreach methods
by Carolyn Pickel, associate director for agricultural IPM
The associate director for agricultural IPM is responsible for planning, coordinating and integrating outreach, research, publications and Web materials for agriculture. A key element is the concept of IPM "crop teams."
Crop teams provide better communication between IPM editors and farm advisors and specialists working with agricultural audiences. These teams, led by an academic expert, meet around revisions of pest management guidelines and development of year-round IPM programs.
During this process, the teams also identify research and outreach needs in addition to updating and supplying new information for the PMGs. As needed, we have brought in pest control advisors and out-of-state experts to replace retired field and crop experts in reviewing PMG content.
To keep pest management guidelines more current, UC IPM now solicits annual updates for every PMG crop. Updates can include immediate changes needed for the next field season such as new chemicals or new monitoring procedures. We expect updates to be gathered and published quickly to get information out to growers and consultants for the growing season every year.
A complete review will be requested every 5 years, and that process may take up to a year to complete. Authors will review their crop PMG thoroughly, either to bring it up to date or affirm that information is still current.
The Office of Pesticide Information checks pesticide recommendations for accurate registrations. The manuscript is submitted for blind peer review, and authors respond to reviewer comments to produce the final manuscript. PMGs are produced in PDF and Web formats, and authors take one last look before publication to ensure accuracy and relevancy for readers.
Reaching our strategic goals for urban and community clientele
by Mary Louise Flint, associate director for urban and community IPM
In 2007, UC IPM created the associate director for urban and community IPM position to better focus efforts on urban and residential pest management audiences. During the past year, the program has consulted with user groups and experts, reviewed issues, brainstormed priorities, and initiated or refocused projects to help make “ecosystem-based integrated pest management THE way Californians manage pests.”
During our first year, we have been building alliances to synergize limited resources in these areas. We established an advisory committee of urban pest management experts within UC to guide us in priority setting. This group has met twice and co-sponsored a program on urban pest management issues at the UC ANR Pest Management Coordinating Conference in October that brought together people from across the state to start a UC ANR urban and community IPM working group.
Our approach has been to partner with natural information extenders—UCCE offices, UC Master Gardener volunteers, retail store employees, public agency personnel, and pest management professionals—who are the people or organizations that the public most often turn to when they have pest management problems.
We have focused on development of tools, such as the Quick Tip cards, UC IPM kiosk, and UC IPM home and landscape Web page, that others can take to the field to enhance our capacity to reach audiences. We are working to harness the power of online training to reach diverse audiences. The Web-based training for retail employees and our video tour of the UC IPM home and landscape Web site, both released this year, show the potential for this medium.
Two major new educational products for landscape professionals will be released in spring 2009: a landscape pest identification card set and the Lawn and Residential Pest Control book for maintenance gardeners. These will provide opportunities for new outreach and training programs across the state. We also plan to develop additional online training products for professionals and more outreach to retail garden centers. Environmentally sound ways to manage ants, a major target of water-polluting insecticides, have been identified as a top priority by our advisory group and will be a major outreach topic in 2009.
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