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Media Contact: Glenn Brank
January 17, 2008 (08-04)


(Note to editors: Local angle for the these counties: Fresno and Kern (almonds, grapes), Orange and San Diego (urban ant control.)

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has awarded about $585,000 in grants to reduce pesticide risks and support sustainable pest management in agricultural and urban settings.

Grants are going to three recipients: the Almond Pest Management Alliance II, $217,860; the California Grape Alliance, $183,640; and the Urban Pest Ant Management project, $183,488.

The Alliance grants are the first to be awarded since state budget cuts sidelined the program in 2002. "Thanks to the Governor’s Budget, we were able to revive this highly successful grants program, and we intend to build on our Alliance accomplishments," said DPR Director Mary-Ann Warmerdam.

The Alliance program promotes IPM – integrated pest management – to minimize the need for chemicals in favor of preventive strategies that work with the environment.

"Two Alliances – for almonds and wine grapes – are possible because of the outstanding work already done by commodity groups, in partnership with DPR and on their own initiative, to develop pest management practices that benefit our growers and sustain our environment," Warmerdam noted.

"The third grant, for a common urban pest problem, is our pro-active response to concerns about misuse of pyrethroid insecticides," said Warmerdam. "This project will also help educate urban pest management professionals and consumers on reducing pesticide risks while maintaining effective pest management for ants."

Grant summaries and media contacts:
Almond Pest Management Alliance II ($217,860)

Coordinated by the Community Alliance with Family Farmers in Davis, the project will set up three demonstration sites. The goal is to reduce the use of highly toxic pesticides at those sites by 25 percent by 2010, and continue to promote a sustainable guide developed by the original Almond Alliance. Plans include the publication of six newsletters for 3,000 growers, six hands-on field days, and other outreach activities.
Principal investigator: Marcia Gibbs, (530) 756-8518, ext. 34,
Media contact: Karrie Thomas, (530) 756-, ext. 264

California Grape Alliance ($183,640)

Coordinated by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance headquartered in San Francisco, the project will extend proven, reduced-risk wine grape pest management strategies to wine, table and raisin grape growers in the San Joaquin Valley. Using ten hands-on workshops, demonstration vineyards and a series of 20 educational events, the Grape Alliance aims to achieve widespread adoption of economically viable IPM practices that reduce pesticide risks to air and water. The grant calls for a 20 percent increase in wine grape performance, compared to current sustainability criteria, and a grower survey to capture project impact on table and raisin grape acreage.
Principal investigator: Joe Browde, (707) 776-4943
Media contact: Allison Jordan (415) 356-7535

Urban Pest Ant Management ($183,488)

Coordinated by the Entomology Department at the University of California, Riverside, the project’s goal is to reduce the use of synthetic insecticides used to control ants in urban areas. Specifically targeted are pyrethroid pesticides that are currently under DPR investigation for urban stream contamination. The project will work with pest professionals and the public to develop low-risk strategies for ant control in Orange and San Diego counties. Seminars, workshops, and a Web link are planned. The project will seek to reduce pyrethroid use among its participants by 50 percent by 2010.
Principal investigator: Michael K. Rust, (951) 827-5327,
Media contact: Marcia McQuern, (951) 827-2646,

On a related note, DPR has launched the 2008-09 cycle of Alliance grants, with the application process now underway. Check online for details.

One of six departments and boards within the California Environmental Protection Agency, DPR regulates the registration, sale and use of pesticides to protect people and the environment.