Aug 15, 2022
California awards grants promoting IPM systems

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is funding five projects through $1.78 million in Alliance Grants, with the goal of increasing the speed and the scale at which safer, more sustainable pest management practices are adopted across the state.

Each project will promote innovative Integrated Pest Management (IPM) systems and practices in agricultural, urban or wildland settings.

“Alliance Grants directly support the department’s mission to foster methods and tools to reduce reliance on pesticides and their impact on human health and the environment,” said DPR Director Julie Henderson. “We are excited by the potential of these five projects and will continue to invest in projects that promote the development and use of safer, more sustainable pest management.”

DPR’s Alliance Grants Program funds projects that promote IPM, an approach that uses the least-toxic, effective method to solve pest problems. Since 2007, DPR has awarded more than $7.8 million in Alliance Grants. The enhanced funds for the 2022 DPR Grants Programs cycle were allocated by the 2021-22 state budget and represent a more than five-fold increase in available funding opportunities compared to historical funding levels.

Alliance Grants are awarded to groups of experts and partners, also referred to as Alliance Teams, who work collaboratively to accomplish the goals of a given project.

Agricultural pest management

Alliance Grants went to two projects focused on agricultural pest management.

One promotes IPM practices that incorporate natural-enemy habitat to control pest insects. This project’s Alliance Team will engage in outreach with producers and agricultural professionals through videos that feature producers and researchers, field days and webinars, which will include an online continuing education course for pesticide applicators. This project will be led by Jo Ann Baumgartner at Wild Farm Alliance, a local non-profit conservation group in Watsonville.

Another agriculture-focused project promotes the adoption of UV-C light by strawberry growers on California strawberry farms. This project’s Alliance Team will showcase UV-C light as an effective, non-chemical alternative to chemical pesticides for controlling mites, mildew and mold. This project will be led by Dr. John Lin at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Urban pest management

Two grants also went to urban pest management projects.

The first will address management of Argentine ants, the most common nuisance ant for which pesticide treatments are applied in urban environments. The Alliance Team for this project is focused on the implementation and promotion of a low-impact IPM approach for pest management professionals that uses pheromone attractants during initial treatment visits and targeted chemical baiting for maintenance visits, to reduce reliance on repeated use of insecticide sprays. This project will be led by Dr. Dong-Hwan Choe at University of California, Riverside.

Another grant will fund home visits to provide IPM education and intervention to disadvantaged communities in South Los Angeles. To improve the health and well-being of South Los Angeles residents, this project’s Alliance Team will make home visits to each family that enrolls in the program. The team will assess housing conditions; provide IPM interventions, including caulking cracks and sealing large holes; and offer other IPM education on reducing pest infestations. This project will be led by Nancy Ibrahim at Esperanza Community Housing.

Wildlands pest management

The final grant will remove invasive primrose and replace it with native plants through a private property owner incentive program, and an AmeriCorps partnership that will provide education and outreach to the community. The Alliance Team for this project is focused on management of creeping water primrose, an invasive aquatic plant that is usually controlled with chemical pesticides. This project’s combination of IPM methods will improve water quality, protect fish habitat and enhance flood protection and prevention, as well as create strong and sustainable natural vegetative wetland communities around the shores of Clear Lake, California. This project will be led by Angela De Palma-Dow at the Lake County Watershed Protection District.

For details about past recipients of DPR’s Grants Programs, visit the department’s Pest Management Grants webpage.

—California Department of Pesticide Regulation

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