Over the course of nearly two years, California has been developing a framework for reducing pesticide use and transitioning to a more sustainable pest management approach. The Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap for California was recently unveiled as an outline for transitioning away from what are classified as “high-risk pesticides.” The roadmap was released by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), California Environmental Protection Agency, and California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).
“The Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap recognizes how the management of pest pressures is strongly interconnected with resilient farms and ecosystems, and the health of farmworkers and communities.” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said in a press release. “We have a lot of work ahead to implement the approaches outlined in the roadmap. However, the implementation of these recommendations will ensure an abundant and healthful food supply, protect our natural resources, and create healthy, resilient communities.”
The Roadmap was developed by working groups comprised of a diverse collection of leaders representing a broad array of interests. Workgroup participants included representatives from agricultural organizations such as the California Farm Bureau Federation, California Citrus Mutual, and the Almond Board of California. An Urban Subgroup was also established to help form the Roadmap, as nonagricultural uses account for as much as 55 percent of pesticide sales. Urban areas are also where as much as 75 percent of pesticide-related illnesses are reported.
Several keystone actions are identified in the Roadmap as being critical for meeting the pest management goals by 2050. One crucial aspect of the plan is to improve DPR’s pesticide registration review process. Preventing the establishment of new invasive pest species is also a priority under the framework. A substantial component of the framework is based on education and outreach among stakeholders.
DPR will be collecting public comment on the Roadmap and the next steps in working to reduce pesticide use in California. The deadline for submitting feedback is March 13. Webinars and other informational outreach efforts will be conducted in the coming weeks.