The central lesson of urban IPM project implementation over the past decade is that the complex ecological and social context of IPM argues for a sustained effort combining elements of technological development, adult education, local organisation, alliance building and lobbying.
Scientific excellence and adherence to ecological principles provide a strong technical basis for IPM development, and the application of participatory, non-formal adult education methods represent a real advance over models based on information dissemination and the delivery of simple messages. But these in themselves are not enough.
The long-term development of a sustainable IPM program also requires strong leadership and cooperation among user groups and the linkages between these groups and the wider community. The interactions of the people involved in a pest management system are the key to the success or failure of the program. When the respective roles of all the people in the pest management system are identified and agreed upon, and when these people communicate well with each other, effective and less expensive protection of the site and the people can be achieved with fewer risks.
Training is often identified as a major need or bottleneck in IPM projects, but uptake of lessons learned is often rather limited for various reasons. It can be argued that in some contexts, urban IPM requires a generally knowledge intensive approach.
From this perspective, Santa Clara County's IPM trainings are not an end in themselves, but rather a good starting point for the development of a sustainable awareness among the public agency's user groups and public at large and enable participants to design, implement and manage pest management plans beyond pesticides.
Training all employees on the basics of the IPM policy, the Department's IPM program and specific maintenance standards and IPM strategies will help ensure that they are understood and consistently followed. Implementing the IPM approach from design through daily maintenance will eliminate unnecessary applications of chemicals. In addition, full implementation of a well-understood IPM approach will create a more efficient and safe environment, saving time and money and increasing worker safety.
The following paragraphs provide administrative guidelines for developing a training plan:
Who should undergo IPM training?
All staff associated with the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of open space, parklands, roads, rights-of-way, parking lots and other landscaped buildings and facilities and other areas where pests may need to be controlled should receive an orientation to the IPM ordinance, the department's specific IPM program and these Guidelines.
Department IPM coordinators, Management groups, Facility managers, Procurement managers, Policy Analysts, Public & Environmental Health managers, Occupational Safety managers, Pest control contractors, Gardeners and other ground maintenance workers for vegetation or other pest management activities should receive subject matter specific training on:
- An overview of Integrated Pest Management including identification and life cycles of typical California pests, weeds and beneficial insects; determining threshold levels for different types of landscapes and facilities; and monitoring techniques.
- Noxious weed and other public health pest identification, control and regulations.
- Pesticide laws and safety.
- Specific Best Management Practices as appropriate.
- Pollution Prevention, Source Control, Hazardous Material & Waste Management, Green Building Concepts, Eco-System, Watershed, Conservation, Structural and Landscape Planning etc.
- Budget Preparation
In order to reduce pollution prevention through pesticides, Staff responsible for maintaining and scheduling irrigation systems should receive training on:
- Irrigation system maintenance and how to conduct audits.
- Scheduling based on evapotranspiration (ET) and seasonal fluctuations.
- Backflow prevention.
Countywide and Subject Matter Specific Training Modules
To the extent practical, IPM training should be shared across departments within the Santa Clara County. This will minimize the training cost and maximize the outreach for the common cause. The County IPM Manager is currently planning development of interactive (subject matter specific) training modules. Some of these modules will also have on-the-job or field training component. As collaborative funding or grants are made available, these modules will be developed and posted on the website. Some of the subjects are as follows:
- "I am the County IPM Guard" - An Administrative Training for Department IPM Coordinators, Facility Managers, Procurement Managers and Policy Makers
- "My Contribution to The Healthy Environment" - An IPM Awareness Training for Santa Clara County Employees (Sanitation, Housekeeping and Maintenance Awareness training)
- "Sanitation, Maintenance and Housekeeping - Role of Facility Managers and Building Occupants in Preventing Pest Problems" - This training is in a movie format a collaborative effort of the County IPM Program and Orkin Exterminating Inc. The movie is available in VHS and DVD format, accompanied with "IPM Guidance Manual for the Facility Managers". The training through this media is capable of reaching all 16,000 county employees. We are also planning to disseminate the same to other interested public agencies and the pest control industry.
- "Kindergarten to K-12" - IPM Grass Root Campaign
- "The Bug that does not Bug Anymore" - Bug Safari
- "Rights-of-Way Pesticide Applicator Training" - Santa Clara County IPM Program has adopted this training manual as part of "SCC Annual Rights-of-way Pesticide Applicator Training". For more information please contact the County IPM Manager- Naresh.Duggal@ceo.sccgov.org
- "Meeting the Experts" - Technical Training for Pest Managers, Subject matter specific training for various pest management projects
- "Reducing Risk Through Pesticide Safety and Education" - A training video designed (by UC Pesticide Education Program) for pesticide applicators to minimize self and environmental exposure to pesticides: The Pesticide Education Program strives to educate all pesticide applicators and users across the Santa Clara County about pest management alternatives, including the safe, proper, and legal use of pesticides. The program promotes responsible decision-making, which will protect pesticide users, public health, plant and animal health, and the environment. (The 113-page instructor's manual (PDF 2782K) is designed to be used with this video. Copies of this public-domain video are available from each state pesticide regulatory agency and Cooperative Extension Service pesticide applicator training coordinators). This training video is currently in use by SCC IPM Program as part of "Annual Pesticide Applicator Safety Education (IPM-PASE)" for pest control license holders, pest control maintenance workers and management staff in Department of Roads & Airport, FAF custodial and grounds staff and Department of Parks & Recreation. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation - Pest Management and Licensing branch has assigned 7 hours of continuing education units (CEU) to SCC IPM-PASE training. The training also meets the State mandated training requirements. For more information please contact the County IPM Manager- Naresh.Duggal@ceo.sccgov.org.
- "Regional IPM Conference" and "Regional IPM Resource Manual" - Lack of training is often cited as an obstacle to the wider adoption of IPM methods, where each individual has to understand their role and participates to promote pest prevention and minimize pesticide use. Establishment of a collaborative IPM training program and conference, inclusive of several public agencies, organizations and industry has been a long-term goal of the program. A collaborative approach among participating public agencies in the Bay Area is designed to enable participants to develop and implement pest management plans beyond pesticide applications in their respective jurisdictions and also provide public education and outreach at a broader horizon. Santa Clara County has taken a leadership role in forming the IPM Regional Alliance. The first ever-Regional IPM Conference was hosted by Santa Clara County held on June 7, 2004 at the 70 West Hedding Street, San Jose, CA. The County IPM Manager was also successful in compiling & editing the first "Regional IPM Resource Manual". Approximately five hundred (500) CD-ROM copies were developed and distributed to the participants and other interested parties. Bio-Integral Resource Center, a non-profit organization and the co-author of the "Regional IPM Resource Manual", has requested to put this CD-ROM version on sale through their IPM publication department. The proceeds will help their organization to further assist in improving & updating the manual as and when needed.
- "Precautionary Principles for Pollution Prevention" - A training module designed for Policy Makers and Executive Management, This training module provides an in depth look on understanding environmental policy development and management, precautionary principles towards environmental stewardship, How to: budget preparation, program/portfolio consolidation, grant and fund management; Environmental Preferable Purchasing, Green Building Concepts, Organic Gardening, Resource Conservation etc.
Demonstrations & Trials
To effectively train the department's managers, gardeners, maintenance personnel, and pest control contractors in these new techniques, IPM demonstration sites will be utilized where hands-on education is coupled with a relevant, "real-world" example. Santa Clara County Department of Parks and Recreation has dedicated Ed Levin Regional Park to conduct field trials and demonstration (Non-Agriculture Production IPM) to evaluate the reduced risk chemical and alternative strategies. Other county owned sites are also used to conduct short-term trials. Several of these trials and demonstrations have been conducted. Once proven effective and sustainable, these alternative methods have now been adopted at a wide scale and become an integral part of the pest management resulting in reduced use or elimination of pesticide use. Some of the examples are as follows:
- Aquatic weed control using mechanical harvesters
- Argentine ant control through precision baiting, physical alteration and tenant awareness
- Averting herbicide application in Turf through Field Scouting and decision making process
- Biological Control of Algae in Lakes & Ponds and Rejuvenating water body using aerators
- Bird Exclusion at Correctional Facility
- California Ground Squirrel Control at Animal Shelter
- California Ground Squirrel Control at Correctional Facility
- Dry Wood Termite Control: Inspection leading to decisions about fumigant use or non-chemical approach
- Norway Rat Control at Animal Shelter
- Optimizing Turf & Landscape maintenance protocols and Plant Health Care
- Pocket Gopher Control at Regional Airports
- Right of Way Vegetation Management using Hydro Mechanical Obliteration, Hydro Seeding and Hydro Mulching Technology
- Right of Way Vegetation Management - incorporating improvements in Road design through Poly pavement & Weed mats
- Total Vegetation Control on Roads (Rights of Way) - A decision making process
- Total Vegetation Control: using radiant heat and torches
- Total Vegetation Control: using Rubber, Wood Mulch, Weed Fabrics
- Total Vegetation Control: using solarization
- Total Vegetation Control: using steam - Waipuna Technology
- Total Vegetation Control: using Organic Herbicides
- Vermin proofing structures
- Yellow Jacket Abatement, Trapping & Control in Regional Parks
Planning and demonstrating reduced risk pest management strategies is a continuous process. The County IPM Manager and Department IPM Coordinators and Department Managers are currently working on several grants and funding opportunities in this regard. As funds are made available, we will continue the process demonstration and adoption of best management practices. Additional information on this subject will follow soon.
Public Education and Outreach
Structural and Non-agricultural use of pesticides represents a significant non-point source of environmental pollution of surface waters, ambient air and an unknown risk to these pesticide users. We know that the public, once reached, is interested in IPM and reducing pesticide risk. Universities and agencies rely heavily on the written word, and increasingly, the Web. While this information may be excellent, it never reaches the vast majority of the public. Also, written information on pesticides or IPM has traditionally not been geared to attract or hold the attention of the general public. Until very recently, educational materials for general public and children on pesticides or pests have been lacking. Reducing the pesticide load in the environment in urban areas will require a multi-faceted, long-term effort of public education and outreach.
"The public" represents a vast, diverse and diffuse audience. To reach these audiences with effective educational messages about reducing risk to the environment and to the self is the only mechanism for simultaneously reducing non-point source pollution and health risks. Planning education and outreach to such a diverse group will require identifying the under-served audiences through collaboration, networking and developing different types of partnerships.
These audiences include:
- Inner-city residents- the approach to this group of audience might include churches, community organizations, and other NGOs.
- Health care professionals- Awareness training to this group has a role to play in spreading the reduced risk message.
- Garden center clientele at point of purchase- The public purchasing pesticides often ask store workers about choice of products for pest control, even through these workers may have no education. Educating this group will help to disseminate the message to hundreds of people (user group) every year.
- Children- Kindergarten to K-12 IPM education, working with school districts to include this curriculum will help at the grass root to capitalize on their interest and get the message across at "kid level".
The Santa Clara County IPM Manger is currently exploring these opportunities through networking with IPM Regional Alliance members, other organizations and industry.
Public Service Announcements (PSA)
SCC IPM Program is working on an IPM PSA project. The PSA will be packaged with cover letter, storyboard and background information and pitched to the top 20 radio stations across the Bay Area. Periodic promotions will follow an initial mailing in pursuit of continued usage. These PSA will run throughout Santa Clara County that describe simple IPM techniques public can use in their home and yard to manage common pests. (An example PSA may be viewed at NY State PSA.) Additional information on this subject will follow soon.