By Marin County
An integrated pest management (IPM) education program that includes contributions from the Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program (MCSTOPPP) has won a statewide award for innovation.
On Jan. 23, the IPM Advocates Program received a 2013 Integrated Pest Management Innovator Award from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) through its Pest Management Alliance Grant Program.
The IPM Advocates Program helps retail nurseries educate their staffs about less-toxic products to manage pests. Ten trainers, called IPM advocates, spent more than a year assisting 321 employees in 30 stores ranging from small independent nurseries to “big box” outlets such as the Home Depot. Updated IPM information was subsequently disseminated to thousands of customers.
The advocates also serve as consultants and offer marketing advice to retail stores. The stores, including several in Marin, responded to the advocates’ recommendations by stocking more reduced-risk products, such as traps for rodents and iron phosphate for slugs and snails, and by directing customers to the products through prominent product placement and explanatory signage.
As a result, 77 percent of store managers surveyed reported greater sales of less-toxic products.
MCSTOPPP, a division of the County’s Department of Public Works, participates in the program in cooperation with the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA). Terri Fashing, MCSTOPPP Program Administrator, said the motive is to remind retailers and customers that water from storm drains goes directly to local creeks and bays.
“There’s no doubt these IPM advocates are helping to prevent pesticides from washing off gardens and sidewalks into storm drains,” Fashing said.
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