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Partnerships for Environmental Innovation in Pest Management Annual Report 2008

Disclaimer

The following version of the Annual Report does not contain the pictures, graphs, tables, and charts available in the print version (20 pp, 2.8MB, About PDF)

Part I: Fiscal Year 2008 At-a-Glance Part II: About PestWise Part III: Our Recent Accomplishments

Part IV: Looking Forward

Partnerships for Environmental Innovation in Pest Management Annual Report 2008

Part I: Fiscal Year 2008 At-a-Glance

Fiscal Year 2008 (FY08) proved to be a banner year for pesticide stewardship at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) PestWise. The collective efforts of EPA managers and staff, public and private partners, grantees, and countless others resulted in continued growth, innovation, and awareness of PestWise programs and initiatives to expand Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices and significantly reduce the risks of pests and pesticides. Together, EPA and its partners are raising the bar on risk reduction. While we applaud our accomplishments, we are humbled by the many challenges that lay ahead. This Fiscal Year 2008 Annual Report constitutes an important milestone on a long road toward achieving the mission of promoting pesticide stewardship to protect human health and the environment. This report also provides all involved in this effort with an opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to a collaborative, non-regulatory approach toward achieving positive impacts through reducing the risks associated with pests and pesticides. This report:

  • illustrates the alignment between PestWise goals and EPA’s higher goals;
  • highlights our collective accomplishments;
  • showcases inspiring and relevant success stories; and
  • identifies specific challenges that lay ahead and outlines approach to address these challenges.

PestWise Goals

The PestWise team is working toward achieving our shared vision by remaining mission focused, and goal oriented. Indeed, the vast majority of work performed by the PestWise team is in pursuit of our five strategic goals. These goals, developed as part of the PestWise strategic planning process, provide the foundation for a shared understanding of who we are, what we do, and how we go about our work. PestWise Goals:

  • Goal 1: Increase Public Understanding of Pests and Pesticide Risk – Creating Public Demand for Lower Risk/ Environmentally Sustainable Approaches to Pest Control
  • Goal 2: Assist PestWise Partners in Decreasing Pesticide Risk through Adoption of IPM Practices and Minimizing Use of Conventional Pesticides; and otherwise Promote Reduced-Risk Pest Management Practices
  • Goal 3: Increase Use of Biopesticides and Other Reduced-Risk Pesticides
  • Goal 4: Assist Partners In Implementing the National IPM Roadmap
  • Goal 5: Assist Pesticide Users in Transtioning to Reduced-Risk Practices in Response to OPP Regulatory Decisions

Partnerships: Addressing the Impact of OPP Regulations on Growers. In September 2012, apple growers will no longer be able to use the organophosphate insecticide, azinphosmethyl (AZM). In response to this regulatory decision, PestWise has partnered with Washington State University (WSU) to help growers transition away from AZM to reduced risk pest management practices through the Orchard Monitoring Training Pilot Project. Currently, the Washington apple industry suffers from an inadequate ability/capacity to monitor pests at a level necessary to support management decisions for effectively using AZM alternatives. The Orchard Monitoring Training Pilot Project will train and mentor orchard employees and field scouts to gather data about pests through monitoring. This data will help growers and consultants make informed decisions about replacing AZM with reduced risk pest management practices.

Significant FY08 PestWise Accomplishments

  • Successfully launched a comprehensive grant program funded by the Pesticide Improvement Renewal Act of 2007 (PRIA2)
  • Developed a suite of communication and outreach materials which featured a new Web Site, PESPWire (a monthly bulletin to highlight Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) activities), fact sheets, brochures, table top displays, and other products.
  • Recognized Outstanding Environmental Stewards through the PESP Awards Program.
  • Co-Sponsored a PESP Town Hall Meeting at the D.C. Green Festival™
  • Worked collaboratively with partners such as the IPM (Integrated Pest Management) Institute of North America, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), certified pest professionals, school system administrators, and others to conduct an outstanding IPM in Schools Working Group Meeting.
  • Significantly improved the overall grants management program – awarding more than $3.1 million in grants that are yielding promising results.
  • Worked with PESP and other federal partners to develop the Pest Management Strategic Plan – a comprehensive path forward for regulators, granting agencies, partners, growers, and other IPM practitioners toward safer pesticide use.
  • Worked internally to implement several measures aimed at improving overall effectiveness including retooling the Strategic Agriculture Initiative (SAI) program, reorganizing PESP, and developing and implementing the use of performance measures to quantify program achievements.
  • Worked with EnDyna Inc., the PestWise support contractor, to launch the first modules of the Pesticide Stewardship Database.

Significant Accomplishments

During FY08, PestWise invested considerable resources while working long-term toward achieving our strategic goals. Significant FY08 PestWise accomplishments listed on the following pages showcase our work and demonstrate the results of our collective investment.

Financial Overview

PestWise resources for FY08 included a total budget of approximately $3.6 million and the commitment of 8.5 full-time-equivalent (FTE) personnel to environmental stewardship activities. Examples of the types of work accomplished using these resources include:

  • participating in over 130 SAI collaborations such as presentations, conferences, advisory board meetings, grantee site visits, and grower meetings;
  • adding 17 new PESP members; and
  • assisting 56 current PESP members with development of new, five-year strategies.

The PestWise budget consisted of four resource components: Grants, Travel, Contracts, and Staff.

FY08 Budget: Allocation by Resource Component

Grants accounted for more than 81% of the total FY08 PestWise budget. At more than 18% of the total budget, contracts were the second largest expenditure.

FY08 Budget: Allocation by PestWise Goal

Nearly all of the $3.9 million FY08 resources were used to further the five PestWise strategic goals. The chart to the right illustrates the breakout in FY08 expenditures by each of the five goals. While all goals are essential for accomplishing the PestWise mission, the primary effort in FY08 was to make significant strides toward achieving Goal 2: Assist PestWise Partners in Decreasing Pesticide Risk through Adoption of IPM Practices and Minimizing Use of Conventional Pesticides; and otherwise Promote Reduced-Risk Pest Management Practices.

FY08 Budget: Allocations by Resource Aligned with PestWise Goal

  • Contract expenditures funded PestWise communications and outreach projects; improvements to the P3 Database; mission support for PestWise programs and activities; and other partnership-related work. All contract activities during FY08 were aligned with the stated goals.
  • Travel expenditures funded direct outreach to partners through attendance at professional forums and other meetings; internal PestWise coordination; and management initiatives.
  • Grants financed more than 50 individual activities, demonstrations, projects, and initiatives that support PestWise goals.
  • Personnel expenditures supported 8.5 full-time equivalents (FTEs). Note: this 8.5 figure represents only ESB staff. There are also 10 Regional SAI Coordinators who devote a portion of their time to stewardship activities.

FY08 Budget: Allocation of Grants

Totaling more than $3.1 million, grants constituted the largest component of the PestWise budget. PestWise administers four different grants that align with the PestWise strategic goals and provide the platforms for our day-to-day work. These grants include:

  • Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) Regional Grants
  • Strategic Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Grants
  • Biopesticide Demonstration Grants Program (BDGP)
  • Pesticide Registration Improvement Renewal Act of 2007 (PRIA2) Grants

Additional detail about funded grant projects is presented in Our Recent Accomplishments, beginning on page 7. Our significant accomplishments and financial overview for FY08 illustrate the PestWise commitment to mission-focused, goal-oriented work. Throughout the remainder of this report, we provide additional detail regarding who we are, what we do, how we work, and our significant accomplishments under each PestWise goal. The adjacent success story, “PESP in the Community,” is the first of several examples of FY08 PestWise resources in action.

Mapping the Road Ahead: Pest Management Strategic Plan for Schools. Pest management practices in our nation’s schools often lead to unmanaged pest infestations and unnecessary pesticide exposure. In response to these risks and the need to protect schoolchildren from pesticide exposure, PestWise and other key partners—USDA Regional IPM Centers, the IPM Institute, universities, school district personnel, and private companies—collaborated to develop the first national Pest Management Strategic Plan for IPM in Schools. The plan aims to achieve full implementation of IPM in all of the nation’s schools by 2015. The broad partnership behind this plan not only fostered increased inter-agency collaboration, it cultivated the formation of a federally-funded, PestWise-coordinated National IPM in Schools working group.

PESP in the community: The D.C. Green Festival™, a project of Global Exchange and Co-op America, was proud to host the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program’s (PESP) Town Hall Meeting: Smart Choices Today – A Healthy Chesapeake Bay on November 8, 2008 in Washington, D.C. This open Town Hall Meeting was designed to create a dialogue about the choices and actions that citizens and local governments can take to safeguard and improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. At the event, EPA presented a membership certificate to one of PESP’s newest members—D.C.’s Clean City Initiative.

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Part II: About PestWise

Who We Are

Recognizing that many of today’s environmental challenges cannot be addressed by regulation alone, EPA established a partnership on a wide variety of environmental issues, working collaboratively with companies, organizations, communities, and individuals. Founded in 2003, the Environmental Stewardship Branch (ESB) operates as part of EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) within the Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division (BPPD). It serves as the national focal point for voluntary stewardship efforts to reduce the risks associated with pests and pesticides. PestWise, the stewardship umbrella under which ESB operates, promotes environmental stewardship nationally to protect human health and the environment by reducing these risks through public-private partnerships, education, and other non-regulatory efforts. PestWise’s work goes beyond regulatory requirements to achieve a higher level of environmental stewardship through a broad mix of solutions, including:

  • Information exchange
  • Education and promotion
  • Technical assistance
  • Grants
  • Partnership programs

What We Do

To accomplish our mission, PestWise is comprised of a suite of collaborative programs:

Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP)
Established in 1994, the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) is a partnership program that works with the nation’s pesticide-user community to reduce human health and environmental risks associated with pesticide use and implement pollution prevention strategies. PESP promotes the adoption of innovative, alternative pest control practices, such as IPM and the use of biopesticides. PESP is guided by the principle that, while government regulation can reduce pesticide risk, the informed actions of pesticide users can potentially reduce pesticide risk more efficiently and to a greater extent. Based on this principle, program membership and participation are completely voluntary.

Strategic Agricultural Initiative (SAI)
SAI is a partnership between EPA and the agricultural community, with a unique focus on regional issues. SAI supports the agricultural community’s efforts to transition away from higher-risk pesticides to agricultural and pest management practices that are economically viable and protect human health and the environment. SAI helps agricultural producers develop and access new tools necessary to make this transition. These tools include grants and collaboration; technical assistance and technology transfer; and outreach and communication.

Biopesticide Demonstration Grant Program (BDGP)
Established in 2003, BDGP is a pesticide risk reduction program jointly funded and administered by EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)/ Interregional Research Project #4 (IR-4), the BDGP is a competitive grants program funding field demonstrations of registered biopesticides used within IPM systems. Through its partnerships, BDGP seeks to:

  • Increase awareness of effective options for integrating biologically based technologies into existing crop production systems, and
  • Promote the use of novel combinations of biopesticides to enhance product performance.

PestWise also supports a number of activities, including:

  • Promoting IPM in schools
  • Promoting Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM)
  • Promoting green landscaping practices

Related Activities

PestWise managers and staff collaborate with other EPA offices to harness resources for and provide guidance to these programs and activities. We take great pride in the fact that our programs and activities contribute to improving and safeguarding the health of the American people and the environment through innovative pest management strategies.All PestWise programs and activities are aligned with five strategic goals. These goals support the sub-objectives related to pesticide risks in EPA’s Strategic Plan. This goal-oriented approach to environmental stewardship makes the best use of resources, ensures a methodology for measuring progress, and provides the mechanism to focus our collective efforts.

How We Work

The dual spirits of teamwork and collaboration permeate all of the work that we do and drive how we reach our goals. Understanding that no single component of our programs or activities has the resources to accomplish the PestWise mission, PestWise works through collaborative partnerships to realize the abovementioned goals. We work with EPA Headquarters and Regional Offices in a matrix-oriented team approach to harness needed program resources and to overcome our toughest management challenges. Further, we measure our success based on the activities and outcomes associated with our programs and activities.

PestWise operates under a set of fundamentals that guides how we do our work and sets the tone for our day-to-day business:

  • Pesticide stewardship refers to how products are used after registration.
  • Voluntary programs are an adjunct to regulation. They are used in combination to achieve environmental goals in the most effective way possible.
  • Partnerships work – we partner with governments, agricultural community, school systems, corporations, environmental groups and academic institutions to protect human and the environment.
  • EPA not only registers pesticides; we also work with American agriculture and other pesticide users to reduce the risk from pesticides.
  • We are committed to moving toward biologically-based Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices.

PestWise’s ability to achieve its goals is highly dependent upon its partnerships with outside organizations throughout the Nation. These private, public, and non-profit organizations have close ties with significant users of pesticides. Without these partnerships, PestWise would not connect to the thousands of pesticide users who are reached through these partners. To improve and modernize its outreach and communication vehicles, PestWise has developed a suite of new materials:

  • Printed communications package (i.e., folder, brochures, fact sheets, success stories);
  • New Website (www.epa.gov/pestwise - to be active in early 2010); and
  • Tabletop displays.

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Part III: Our Recent Accomplishments

The section below details PestWise’s recent accomplishments by goal. For each goal, we highlight our accomplishments by category, including:

  • total number of grants awarded,
  • total grant dollars awarded,
  • travel dollars expended,
  • number of partners or members supporting each program activity or goal,
  • total contract dollars expended, and other, similar categories.

Additionally, we present summaries summaries of representative grants to give our stakeholders a flavor of the type of work that supports of each goal and end each section with a success story that highlights work performed under each goal.

1. Goal 1: Increase Public Understanding of Pests and Pesticide Risk – Creating Public Demand for Lower Risk/ Environmentally Sustainable Approaches to Pest Control

In accordance with our mission of promoting environmental stewardship, outreach and education are essential functions of PestWise. In FY08, PestWise continued our focused activities in support of Goal 1, devoting approximately 9% of total FY08 resources to related efforts.

1.1 Grants

A large portion of these resources, 73%, come from five PESP Regional Grants that funded a range of educational and outreach projects. These grant projects targeted a diversity of populations, including:

  • Spanish-speaking families,
  • primary and secondary school students,
  • school staff and administrators,
  • urban health professional, and
  • residents living in multi-unit dwellings.

The projects funded by these grants are on-going, and have not yet been completed, though it is certain they will yield valuable results that will be transferable to other situations.

1.2 Contracts

While grants comprise the largest expenditure under Goal 1, they are by no means the only meaningful area in which we are engaged. In the past year, PestWise and our mission support partner EnDyna, Inc., have made considerable progress increasing PESP’s visibility and its ability to reach stakeholders by activities funded through contract resources. Highlights of activities that support Goal 1 undertaken through contract resources include: a comprehensive print communications package, a revised Web presence within EPA’s Web site, and flexible displays for use at meetings and conferences (see story on page 5). Further, the PestWise and EnDyna have partnered with Wholeness for Humanity to support the EcoTour Program and the town hall meeting at the D.C. Green Festival™ (also see stories at the top of page 9 and bottome of page 3, respectively).

1.3 Travel

Although relatively small when compared to the other resources overall, the portion of travel funding directed toward activities in support of Goal 1, 21.8%, is the second highest among all goals. Travel activities for efforts designed to foster increased public understanding of pests and pesticide risk, supported with PestWise funds during FY08 enabled staff to partner with and participate in the following meetings, to name a few:

  • Chesapeake Watershed Forum,
  • U.S. EPA’s Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) National Workshop, and
  • The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance’s 8th Annual Conference.

1.4 Staffing

PestWise allocated 1.30 FTE to support activities aligned with Goal 1. This is approximately 24% of externally-focused staff resources.

PESP knows that its members work hard to protect human health and the environment by reducing pest and pesticide risk and by implementing pollution prevention strategies. As part of its effort to reinvigorate the program, PESP recognized outstanding environmental stewards with PESP Champion Awards this year. Awardees demonstrated measurable steps taken to:

  • Improve economic benefits associated with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) adoption;
  • Reduce the risk to human health through integrated pest and pest management practices; and
  • Reduce the risk to the environment through your best management practices.

Nineteen PESP members submitted award applications. In September 2008, EPA determined that six applicants would receive Champion awards. Award recipients were announced in the November 2008 PESPWire. PestWise is currently developing a structured, institutionalized, annual awards program that will be implemented in the fall of 2009. This program will recognize the outstanding achievements of PESP members and other PestWise Program partners, such as SAI grantees. In addition, PESP and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will present a joint agency award for IPM achievement.

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2. Goal 2: Assist PestWise partners in Decreasing Pesticide Risk through Adoption of IPM Practices and Minimizing Use of Conventional Pesticides; and otherwise Promote Reduced-Risk Pest Management Practices

Increased adoption of IPM practices and minimizing the use of conventional pesticides are such critical tasks that PestWise continues to make significant investments to achieving this goal. During FY08, PestWise continued to focus on activities that:

  • increase the number of IPM partners,
  • increase the number of acres under IPM practices, and
  • reduce the total amount of conventional pesticides used per acre.

We accomplish our work for Goal 2 through networking with partners; communicating with partners and potential partners through a variety of methods; and by awarding grants and contracts.

2.1 Grants

In FY08, PestWise invested more than $2 million through PESP Regional Grants, SAI Grants, and PRIA 2 Grants to support more than 30 initiatives that are paving the way for improved environmental stewardship across the nation. The five largest grants, summarized here, account for nearly half of the total grant investment for Goal 2.

  • An initiative by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to reduce volatile organic compound emissions from pesticide use in nuts and tree fruit orchards in California’s San Joaquin Valley ($159,500).
  • A University of Florida program focused on reduced pesticide use for Bemisia tabaci and Greenhouse White Flies (Trialeurodes vaporium) on Greenhouse Tomato using Protected Culture, IPM techniques, Parasitic Wasps and Papaya Banker Plants ($246,400).
  • An initiative sponsored by the Central Coast Vineyard Team to reduce pesticide risk through the adoption of Integrated Farming Practices in Central Coast Vineyards and marketing Certified Sustainable Products ($225,000).
  • An ongoing program by the IPM Institute of North America to achieve high-level IPM in all US Schools by 2015 ($250,000).
  • A Texas A&M University Program that is working toward development of a Web-based Helicoverpa zea Pyrethroid Insecticide Resistance Monitoring Database and a Real-Time Information Delivery System ($100,00).

2.2 Contracts

PestWise invested more than $86,000 in contract resources to continue its work with EnDyna, Inc. in the development of the Pesticide Stewardship Database -- the data repository for grant projects funded under PestWise. Summaries of these grant project are available to the public. Projects in the database are searchable by EPA Region, pesticide, crop, state, and fiscal year funded. The database has already begun to provide limited performance measurement data to PestWise. As it is further developed and populated, its value to our work will continue to grow. (The Pesticide Stewardship Database can be accessed at http://sai.ipm.gov.)

2.3 Staffing

PestWise allocated 1.6 FTE to support activities aligned with Goal 2. This is approximately 30% of externally-focused staff resources.

Anacostia EcoTours: Discovering Local Environmental Achievements While Biking Through D.C. PestWise’s EcoTour Program places specific emphasis on how implementing sustainable lawn and landscaping practices on residential and commercial properties can positively impact a community’s local waterways. By showcasing a community’s best management practices that mitigate pesticide loading into waterways, the EcoTour Program works to change community attitudes and behaviors, while inspiring individual and community action. This year, PestWise and Wholeness for Humanity sponsored four successful Anacostia EcoTours. Now that the program has been established, PestWise is planning a Grand EcoTour for 2010. Participants will enjoy a 710-mile EcoTour throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Stops will range from the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed in upstate New York to the southeastern shores of Virginia—where the Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean.

PestWise is Measuring Up: IPM in Schools Performance Measures Approved by OPP Review Team. In 2008, EPA Office of Pesticide Program’s performance measures review team approved ESB’s proposed IPM in schools measures. This was the first time that OPP’s performance measures review team approved proposed measures! The performance measures are based on two school IPM models (Monroe Model and IPM STAR certification), which have both been supported by OPP/PESP through grants and/or cooperative agreements. Initially, the performance measures will show how many children are impacted positively by IPM programs in schools. As more states employ IPM models in their schools, measures will also include:

  • Pesticide exposure reduction
  • Absenteeism related to notification for pesticide application
  • Reduced pesticide use
  • Number of students attending schools with IPM programs

With these measures in place, PestWise will not only have the ability to measure progress toward the goal of each school in the Nation transitioning to IPM practices by 2015, but it will also be able to measure the impact that IPM has on improving children’s health.

Partnership in Practice: The 2008 National Schools Working Group Meeting. In 2006, the National Schools Working Group set a goal for each school in the Nation to transition to Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices by 2015. PestWise is an integral member of the Working Group. Much progress has been made since this goal was set!

  • Each Regional IPM Center created a School Working Group.
  • Federal agencies have made progress with their IPM goals.
  • The School Pest Management Strategic Plan (PMSP) was completed.
  • EPA established the IPM in Schools Program and is enlisting a schools sector in Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program.

On November 20, 2008, approximately 100 Working Group members met in Reno, Nevada to trace the progress made in the arena of school IPM over the past few years. Participants will work together to establish the next steps forward to ensure that we are all working together to meet the 2015 goal!

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3. Goal 3: Increase Use of Biopesticides and Other Reduced-Risk Pesticides in Agricultural and Non-Agricultural Arenas

During FY08, PestWise continued to demonstrate a strong commitment to increasing the adoption of biologically-based pesticides, or biopesticides, within IPM systems. We accomplish our work for Goal 3 primarily through demonstration projects and technology transfer activities under BDGP and SAI. Specifically, our team members work with partners, grantees, and others to identify biopesticide technologies, sustainable agriculture practices, and other innovations that lead us away from the use of higher-risk pesticides.

3.1 Grants

By awarding 13 grants totaling $428,000, PestWise is opening new doors to increasing the use of biopesticides. A representative sample of these grants includes:

  • A Center for Agricultural Partnerships initiative to develop and implement an innovative approach for increasing the use of reduced risk pest management practices in North Carolina sweet potato production through leveraging of federal conservation programs ($112,700).
  • A transition program of the Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers, Inc. for the evolution of large-scale conventional producers of food crops in Florida to sustainable agriculture and organic practices through education, outreach and assistance ($168,300).
  • A University of Maryland program that is demonstrating the role and assessing the effectiveness of biopesticides and Bt transgenic hybrids for management of Lepidopteron pests on sweet corn ($18,200).
  • A University of Arizona initiative to test the efficacy of Actinovate and Kaligreen within a biopesticide intensive IPM system for management of powdery mildew on cantaloupe ($10,000).
  • An Oregon State University demonstration of managing rotation of biopesticides to control Onion Thrips ($15,200).
  • A University of Georgia demonstration of the reduction of Aflatoxin in peanuts via Afla-Guard biopesticide ($15,000).

While we still have a long way to go to achieve nation-wide biopesticide use, the success of these demonstrations and initiatives gives us cause for great hope. During the coming year, we will measure our success based on the rate at which biopesticides are substituted for conventional (higher-risk) pesticides as well as the increased number of acres using biopesticides.

3.2 Contracts

PestWise continued to administer the BDGP through an interagency grant to the Interregional Research Project No. 4 (IR-4). In FY08, PestWise invested $56,000 to support IR-4’s management of this important program.

3.3 Staffing

PestWise allocated 0.8 FTE to support activities aligned with Goal 3. This amounts to 15% of externally-focused staff resources.

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4. Goal 4: Assist Partners in Implementing the National IPM Roadmap

An important function of PestWise is the support we offer our federal partners in implementing the National IPM Roadmap. To coordinate federal efforts, we work closely with our partners (especially with USDA and its Regional IPM Centers) and with collaborative groups, such as the National Integrated Pest Management Evaluation Group (NIPMEG).While the overall PestWise resources applied in support Goal 4 in FY08 may seem relatively minor, 5%, these resources facilitated important work.

4.1 Contracts

PestWise invested $187,000 in a variety of contract activities aligned with Goal 4. The principal contracts include:

  • a needs assessment for SAI performed by the Track Group, amounting to $131,000, and
  • a USDA/Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service interagency agreement for $51,000.

4.2 Travel

The largest portion of FY08 PestWise travel funding, 41.5% ($6,083), was directed toward support of activities under Goal 4. Funded travel activities included those that enabled staff and partners to participate in the following meetings:

  • Strategic Agricultural Initiative
  • Southern Regional IPM Center
  • Entomological Society of America
  • USDA/CSREES National Water Conference
  • Western Regional IPM Center
  • North Central IPM Center

BDGP Impacts State Policy. As a result of a field demonstration conducted on blueberry by the University of Georgia and funded by EPA/IR-4 Biopesticide Demonstration Grants in 2005 and 2006, the biochemical pesticide potassium phosphite (Prophyt, Agrifos, et al.) has been included in the pesticide recommendations for 10 states including Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Potassium phosphite is as effective as conventional fungicides in managing foliar and root diseases in blueberry, and costs less. Aggregate sales data for three potassium phosphite registrants indicate that sales increased by 188% in 2007 and an additional 15% so far in 2008 in the southeast. Nationwide sales for the same group of companies were up by 345% in 2007, but down 10% in 2008, suggesting that the demonstration project was at least in part responsible for the increased usage.Philip Brannen of the University of Georgia estimates that as a result of the demonstrations, phosphites are now being used on at least half the blueberries grown in Georgia.

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5. Goal 5: Assist Pesticide Users in Transitioning to Reduced-Risk Practices in Response to OPP Regulatory Decisions

Assisting pesticide users in transitioning to reduced-risk practices in response to OPP regulatory decisions is an important environmental stewardship element of PestWise. Regulatory decisions create unique opportunities to consider, develop, and demonstrate new pest management strategies. Through grants and contracts, PestWise has funded projects that assist pesticide users, including growers, adapt to OPP’s regulatory decisions through affordable, practical, reduced-risk alternatives. For example, in 2006 OPP announced that all uses of azinphosmethyl (AZM) will be phased out by September 2012; PestWise has formed a partnership that is helping apple growers adopt alternatives to AZM.

5.1 Grants

Our primary means of making progress toward Goal 5 is through SAI and PRIA 2 grants. In FY08, PestWise awarded more than $420,000 dollars to support six grant projects related to Goal 5.

5.2 Contracts

PestWise also invested more than $200,000 in contract resources to work with EnDyna to reach partners across the Nation to engage them on projects of interest to both EPA and PestWise partners. This work was focused on IPM and sustainable activities, and was strongly aligned

  • A Washington State University AZM alternative study
  • A fumigants flux study in Florida

These partnerships will continue into FY09, when results will be available.

5.3 Travel

Also included under support for activities related to Goal 5 is travel funding to enable PestWise staff to participate in crop tours. Crop tours represent a significant opportunity for EPA staff to get out to the farm. There they can learn firsthand of the latest practices, hear stakeholder concerns, and also provide answers to questions. In FY08, travel resources under Goal 5 funded PestWise staff to participate in the following events:

  • California Specialty Crop Tour
  • Michigan Crop Trip
  • IPM Institute of North America Meeting

What’s in the News? – The Monthly PESPWire. In June 2008, PESP delivered the first issue of the PESPWire to program members. PESPWire, a monthly e-bulletin, is just one of the many exciting improvements and benefits that members will enjoy with the renewed PESP! Each month, the PESPWire:

  • Welcomes new members and informs current members of other news in the IPM community.
  • Announces upcoming conferences, meetings, events, and grant opportunities
  • Notifies PESP members about relevant Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) news and updates.

EPA established the PESPWire not only to keep PESP members informed of regulatory updates, but to also provide them with valuable information that can help them reach their PESP strategy goals.

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Part IV: Looking Forward

FY08 represented a watershed year of initiatives for PestWise management. These management initiatives included successfully retooling SAI; implementing the new, PRIA 2 grants program; branding and developing communications products for PestWise; and initiating a comprehensive reorganization of PESP. Additionally, we implemented a strategic planning process and worked collaboratively to streamline our internal staffing and decision-making processes. Before moving forward, it is important to reflect briefly upon the actions that contributed most to our progress this year.

We retooled SAI by:

  • aggressively addressing issues identified in the September 26, 2007 EPA Office of Inspector General Report: Strategic Agriculture Initiative Needs Revisions to Demonstrate Results;
  • placing greater emphasis on planning and establishing goal-oriented performance measures;
  • obtaining contractor assistance to improve the database and help plan and facilitate SAI meetings;
  • leveraging the annual SAI Summit as a consensus-building and decision-making forum; and
  • streamlining management and decision-making processes.

We kicked off the reorganization of PESP by:

  • adapting a community-based IPM model that better focuses our efforts on reducing pest and pesticide risks where we live, work, play, and grow our food;
  • transitioning to goal-oriented performance measures;
  • placing emphasis on improving member benefits and member contributions through a tiered partnership program; and
  • obtaining contractor services to assist with program reorganization, performance measure identification, and the tiered program development.

We implemented a formal, goal-oriented strategic planning process for all programs and activities under PestWise. This process included:

  • identifying program goals and objectives;
  • developing simple, but relevant performance measures; and
  • developing the tools and techniques to better capture the performance data that allows us to measure success.

Our management improvements involved:

  • important realignment of staffing and decision-making practices; and
  • improved collaboration with key headquarters and regional managers and staff.

In the year ahead, PestWise faces the challenge of building upon the significant progress described above to establish the conditions for long-term success. Looking forward, PestWise is committed to leveraging the accomplishments of and changes made in FY08 to yield stronger programs and activities in FY09 and beyond. Among the most promising aspects of work to be performed during FY09 are:

  • increasing our focus in aligning all work performed and dollars spent to one of the five program goals;
  • formally collecting program data that will allow us to measure better activities and outcomes against program goals;
  • conducting research and performing targeted outreach to increase the number of members in the PESP;
  • continuing to improve the process for managing grant dollars;
  • refining new management initiatives to improve staffing and decision making;
  • improving upon the reorganization and retooling efforts of the PESP and SAI;
  • leveraging the capabilities of our support contractor to take PestWise to the next level; and
  • improving collaboration with EPA Headquarters and Regional offices.

While the road ahead presents many obstacles, PestWise is up for the challenge. The rewards of improved environmental stewardship and the increased adoption of IPM continue to inspire our work. As PestWise moves forward, we thank and continue to rely upon the efforts of EPA Headquarters managers and staff, Regional Offices’ managers and coordinators, public and private partners, grantees, and the countless others who are helping PestWise accomplish its mission.

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