Environmental Protection programs protect agriculture and the public from unfavorable economic or environmental impacts.
This program provides the first line of defense for California agriculture. Inspections provide protection from the introduction or spread of harmful insects, plant diseases, weeds, and other pests into the county through the movement of plants and plant products as well as other items through normal channels of trade.
Harms of New Pests
The establishment of these new pests may adversely effect our natural environment as well as negatively impact the State’s economy. This program also involves the inspection and certification of agricultural export shipments to other states and countries and the issuance of certificates documenting compliance with their entry requirements. For example, we are there to inspect incoming plant shipments to ensure that non-native plant diseases such as Sudden Oak Death and insects such as Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter are not introduced into the county.
This program provides the second line of defense against exotic pests through the early detection of new introductions before they become widely established. Insect traps are placed throughout the county to detect such insect pests as Mediterranean Fruit Fly, Gypsy Moth, Japanese Beetle, European Pine Shoot Moth, Glassy-winged Sharpshooter, Khapra Beetle, Light Brown Apple Moth, and a host of other targeted pest species. Through early detection the likelihood of these pests becoming established in the county is lessened and the cost and environmental impact of eradication is minimized. By placing insect traps, we are there to monitor for any insects that may have been illegally or unknowingly introduced into the county. We are also there to cooperate with state, federal, and international agricultural agencies when these pests are found in our county.
Pest eradication programs are often conducted following the discovery of an introduced pest species in order to eliminate infestations of new pests before they become widespread. Primarily we want to prevent their introduction, but if they are found in the county, we want to eradicate the population or control it if the infestation has gotten too large. Often these projects are partially or completely under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. However, we are often involved as the liaison to local government.
We are charged with the responsibility of managing nuisance pests of agriculture and human health. Many of these pests are recently introduced species that have become established despite the best efforts to keep them out. These include common pests such as ground squirrels, voles, gophers, and noxious invasive weeds that can be serious pests of agriculture and urban areas alike.
We also conduct programs to establish and distribute biological controls for troublesome pests. There have been successful efforts to distribute tiny wasps to control Ash White Fly, and continuing efforts to control Yellow Starthistle, puncture vine, and Lerp Psyllid through the distribution of bio-control agents.
We also assist in controlling the population of those pests already present by: (1) providing expertise and materials to producers and homeowners for the control of certain vertebrate pests which are causing damage; and (2) identifying common pests for producers and homeowners.
Pesticide Use Enforcement
This is a complex program that covers far more than its name implies. This program was developed to provide for the proper, safe, and efficient use of pesticides essential for the production of food and fiber and for the protection of public health and safety. It also protects the environment from potentially harmful pesticides by prohibiting, regulating, or ensuring proper stewardship of pesticides.
An important component of the program focuses on agricultural and pest control workers, ensuring safe working conditions, use of proper protective equipment, and training for employees who work with or around pesticides.
Other components of the program include the following:
- Incident investigations
- Inspections and the issuance of restricted materials
- Investigations of pesticide illness complaints
- Monitoring applications in the field
- Monitoring of pesticide use by the public
- Outreach activities promoting best management practices
- Pesticide permits and operator identification numbers for non-restricted materials
- Pesticide use reporting
- Private applicator certification
- Registration of structural and agricultural pest control operators and advisors