UC IPM advisor keeps pests at bay—and out of the bay—in Port of San Diego
UC IPM has cast its net wide to encourage others to consider integrated pest management as the preferred method of controlling pests in an effort to reduce pesticide use.
The Port of San Diego oversees San Diego Bay and the surrounding tidelands, and one of its primary roles is to serve as an environmental steward. One of the Port’s concerns is pesticide use, a source of water pollution in the bay. Pesticides and fertilizers can be transported from parks and yards to the storm-drain system and eventually into creeks, lagoons, bays, and the ocean.
One way that the Port is working to prevent water pollution in San Diego Bay is through an IPM program. Since 1997, UC IPM Advisor Cheryl Wilen, UCCE, South Coast, has served on the Port of San Diego's IPM Task Force to oversee the implementation of this program.
"Cheryl helps us coordinate the Port's annual IPM seminar that is open to the public and generally attracts about 200 people from the landscaping industry," said Kelly Makley, associate environmental specialist for the Port. "Discussions range from new pests, pest identification, and water quality impacts of pesticides. Our entire gardening staff attend the seminars for training, and they are able to apply what they've learned at our Port's parks."
Wilen stresses the importance of selecting plants that are appropriate for a particular climate and soil type, the use of beneficial organisms to combat pests, and limited use of toxic pesticides that can cause unintended problems in the soil, air, and water.
"Cheryl has been working so closely with us for so many years that she's quite familiar with the Port's parks and always provides lots of helpful and useful advice to reduce the Port's impact on the environment," said Makley. "To date, we're proud to report that we have eliminated the need for insecticides and have reduced the use of herbicides by more than 70 percent."
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