DPR Grants Advance Cutting Edge IPM Research
For decades, synthetic pesticides have been the main tool of farmers to control an array of pests that threaten their crops and livelihoods, and for urbanites to control unwanted insects and weeds.
But there are often less expensive and less potentially hazardous approaches.
That’s the goal behind several Department of Pesticide Regulation grant- and contract-funded research projects, recently showcased at a symposium in Sacramento.
The March 21 Integrated Pest Management Research Symposium, held at Sacramento State University, drew 66 people, including several of the state’s most innovative researchers on reduced-risk integrated pest management (IPM) whose work has been funded by DPR. Since 2013, DPR has awarded more than $5.8 million in grants for research that advances integrated pest management (IPM).
The symposium allowed the researchers to showcase their DPR-funded research to experts, as well as people just interested in their work.
“Aspects of these research projects have been presented in various disparate venues, but never in a dedicated forum where the community of DPR funded researchers could interact with each other, other potential grant applicants, and individuals from a variety of organizations with interests in reduced risk pest management,” said organizer Dr. Doug Downie, Senior Environmental Scientist (Specialist) in DPR’s Pest Management and Licensing Branch.
“This symposium made this happen. We hope to make this a biannual event.”
The speakers included:
* Abbey Alkon, of UC San Francisco’s School of Nursing, who has researched the efficacy of IPM educational efforts at schools in urban and rural settings.
* Mike Grieneisen, of UC Davis’ Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, who analyzed several studies looking at the effectiveness of agricultural fumigant and non-fumigant treatments for soil pathogens.
* Dong Hwan Choe, of UC Riverside’s Entomology Department, who studied IPM strategies in urban pesticide use. This includes work looking at how pest control companies can increase efficiency and reduce runoff using specific pesticide types and application methods.
* Darren Haver, of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC-ANR) South Coast Research and Extension Center, whose related research focused on urban pesticide use, and also conducted outreach to pest management professionals and homeowners aimed at reducing pesticide runoff into waterways.
* Jay Rosenheim, of UC Davis’ Department of Entomology and Nematology, who used multi-variable mathematical models – looking at crops, pest problems reported by farmers and pest control advisors, and pesticide use patterns – to devise better pest management strategies.
* Steve Fennimore, of UC Davis’ Agricultural Research Station, who researched using steam as an alternative to fumigants in soil disinfestation.
* Jim Stapleton, of UC-IPM Kearny Agricultural Center, Jean VanderGheynst, of the UC Davis Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Chris Simmons, of the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology, whose work looked at improving soil-solarization methods to reduce farm reliance on fumigants. Solarization involves heating soil to the point where pests die by covering fields with plastic film, trapping solar heat.
* Dan Legard, of the California Strawberry Commission, who worked on reduced-rate fumigation use along with organic soil amendments to improve the efficacy of biologically mediated soil-borne disease control.
* Roger Duncan, of UC-ANR and the UC Cooperative Extension office in Stanislaus County, whose work looked at nematode control using limited “spot” fumigation and improved rootstocks in pistachio and stone-fruit trees.
* Joji Muramoto, of the UC Santa Cruz Department of Environmental Studies, who studied pest reduction strategies in cole-crop pest management.
DPR has awarded Pest Management Research Grants since 2013, after the state in 2012 expanded DPR’s grant program to include funding for research projects that develop effective alternatives to fumigants and other high-risk pesticides.DPR Director Brian Leahy addresses symposium attendees.
Grant recipients can include public and private entities, such as colleges and universities, commodity boards, licensed pest control businesses, nonprofit organizations and urban pest managers of institutional buildings.
As of 2016, DPR had awarded $4.26 million in research grants. Projects must develop effective IPM practices that reduce pesticide risks to human health and the environment.
For information on the March 21 symposium, see DPR’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Research Symposium.
See the Research Grant Program page for more information on research grants.
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