The state joined leaders from a diverse range of backgrounds to unveil a roadmap of ambitious goals and actions to accelerate California’s systemwide transition to sustainable pest management and eliminate prioritized high-risk pesticides by 2050 to better protect the health of our communities and environment while supporting agriculture, food systems, and community well-being.
The Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap for California – released by the Department of Pesticide Regulation, the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture – charts a course for the state’s transition to sustainable pest management in agricultural and urban settings.
The roadmap was developed over nearly two years by a diverse, cross-sector group of stakeholders representing conventional and organic agriculture, urban environments, community and environmental groups, tribes, researchers, and the government.
“For decades, California has used pesticides to protect our crops, our cities, our homes, and our businesses from pests,” said Yana Garcia, California’s Secretary for Environmental Protection. “Exposure to harmful pesticides carries risks – to our health and to our environment – and these risks are disproportionately borne by communities already overburdened by pollution. If we truly want to build a healthy and safe California for all, we must phase out and replace the highest-risk pesticides, and the Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap is a bold, new plan to get us there.”
Sustainable pest management is a holistic, systemwide approach that builds on the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) by incorporating essential elements of human health and social equity, environmental protection, and economic vitality. IPM uses the least toxic, effective method to solve pest problems. While IPM has been practiced to varying degrees for decades, it hasn’t been adopted at scale, across the board, in agriculture, or in urban or wildland settings, which is why the holistic, systemwide approach recommended through the Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap is a necessary evolution.
“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,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “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 Sustainable Pest Management Work Group was formed in response to both a recommendation from the state’s Chlorpyrifos Alternatives Work Group and the Governor’s, CalEPA’s, and DPR’s recognition of the need to accelerate a holistic, systemwide approach to safer, more sustainable pest management. The Work Group was comprised of 25 members representing diverse interests in addressing sustainable pest management in agricultural settings, and an additional eight members formed an urban subgroup to address urban pest pressures specifically.
“Successfully transitioning to sustainable pest management requires collective action,” said DPR Director Julie Henderson. “The critical actions outlined in the roadmap include prioritizing prevention, coordinating state-level leadership, investing in building knowledge about sustainable pest management, improving the state’s registration and evaluation process to bring more sustainable alternatives to the market, and enhancing monitoring and statewide data collection to better inform actions.”
DPR opened a public comment period on the prioritization and implementation of the next steps outlined in the Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap. The comment period opened today and will close at 5 p.m. on March 13, 2023. Comments can be sent to email@example.com or by mail to 1001 I Street, P.O. Box 4015, Sacramento, CA 95812. Comments received will be considered as part of the state-level coordination on implementing the recommendations in the Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap.
DPR and partner agencies will additionally host a series of webinars to discuss the recommendations and actions outlined in the Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap for both agricultural and urban landscapes. The webinars are planned for February 2023, and more information will be available on DPR’s website.