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Media Contact: Lea Brooks
August 4, 2010 (10-11)
916-445-3974 lbrooks@cdpr.ca.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Two Bay Area Projects Receive Grants to Reduce Pesticide Use in Urban Areas

SACRAMENTO – Educating consumers how to effectively get rid of garden pests while protecting waterways from pesticide contamination is the focus of two Bay Area projects receiving a total of $370,000 in grant funding, Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) Director Mary-Ann Warmerdam announced today. Pest Management Alliance Grants were awarded to:

  • City of San José for the Pesticide-Free Park and Demonstration Gardens at Guadalupe River Park, $200,000.
  • Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association for the IPM Advocates for Retail Stores, $170,000.

“These projects will help inform casual gardeners as well as professional landscapers that pesticides applied in homes and gardens can contaminate water quality in urban waterways,” Warmerdam said. “There are effective pest-control options that protect our environment.”

Pest Management Alliance Grants emphasize collaborative efforts that can be widely implemented and IPM, a combination of natural and preventive strategies that focus on long-term pest prevention and pose a low risk to people, pets and the environment. Pesticides are used as a last resort and selected to remove only the target pest.

Since the grant program began in 1998, DPR has awarded approximately $10 million to more than 200 projects. The grants are subsidized with special funds generated by fees on pesticide sales.

Details about the projects and local media contacts follow:

San José

Pesticide-Free Park and Demonstration Gardens at Guadalupe River Park

The city of San José, with help from the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, plans to create a model, pesticide-free urban park at the 4.5-acre Courtyard Gardens. The gardens are located within the Guadalupe River Park, a three-mile ribbon of parkland in the heart of downtown San José.

Pests in the Courtyard Gardens currently are controlled with pesticides. With the grant, pest control will shift exclusively to IPM strategies, including a weed-prevention test area and a squirrel control program.

The demonstration gardens will be designed to resemble yards of typical single-family home yards and convey IPM principles through interpretive signs and self-guided tours, brochures, podcasts and cell phone apps. Residents will learn how to replace lawns with drought-tolerant plants that reduce energy and water use as well as provide habitat for birds and beneficial insects. The design will be selected through a city contest to raise awareness for sustainable landscape practice among landscape design professionals.

“This project is one more way San José is implementing a green vision - practices that contribute to a sustainable way of living,” said John Stufflebean, director of the city’s Environmental Services Department. “We’ll be tracking all facets of the project and publishing the outcomes and recommendations as a case study for other agencies that are interested in developing pesticide-free parks.”

The Guadalupe River Park Conservancy is a local nonprofit organization committed to developing River Park into a vital, urban central park for residents, tourists and visitors. The conservancy coordinates more than 10,000 volunteer hours annually.

DPR honored San José earlier this year with its IPM Innovator Award for using IPM strategies to control insects, weeds, rodents and other pests. The city has been reducing its reliance on pesticides with goats and sheep for weed control on parklands; barn owl and bat boxes in city parks and community gardens to control pests; and removing cocoons of the destructive tussock moth by power washing, followed by releases of stingless parasitic wasps.

The media contact for San José’s Environmental Services is Communications Manager Jennifer Garnett, (408) 535-8554 or Jennifer.garnett@sanjoseca.gov.

Bay Area

IPM Advocates for Retail Stores

The Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association is committed to keeping pollutants out of stormwater systems that carry runoff into creeks and the San Francisco Bay. The project will build on and expand the Our Water, Our World program (ourwaterourworld.org) by developing certified IPM Advocates, a team of representatives who can educate store employees and their customers about:

  • Effective use of alternatives to pesticides to control ants, aphids, moths, snails, weeds and a host of other pests.
  • How to avoid environmental and health effects by properly using toxic pesticides if they are needed.

As more of the older, more toxic pesticides are phased out or abandoned by increasingly “green ” consumers, demand is growing for store employees to be knowledgeable about alternative methods and products. Alternative products are in stores, but interested consumers need help identifying them.

The association plans to use IPM practices recommended by the University of California Statewide IPM Program to develop a formal curriculum and train and certify “IPM Advocates.” The advocates, who will receive a stipend, will be matched with retail stores to assist with product selection, displays, marketing and employee training workshops.

The project will target pesticides with a known effect on surface water quality in urban and suburban waterways, including pyrethroids, carbaryl, imidacloprid and fipronil. Organophosphates, older compounds of high regulatory concern because of their toxicity, are also targeted, but at a lower priority because of declining use.

The media contact is Executive Director Geoff Brosseau, (510) 622-2326 or info@basmaa.org.

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One of five departments and boards within the California Environmental Protection Agency, DPR regulates the sale and use of pesticides to protect people and the environment. For more information about DPR, see www.cdpr.ca.gov.