Water quality protection training aimed at landscapers

May 29, 2013 -  By

The Western Integrated Pest Management Center has developed hands-on training materials to help professional landscapers and grounds managers, as well as agricultural applicators and home gardeners, keep pesticides out of water sources.

“When the U.S. Geological Survey conducted a 10-year study of pesticides in surface and groundwater, it collected water, sediment and fish samples from hundreds of surface water sites and found pesticide residue in every one of them,” said Western Integrated Pest Management Center Director Jim Farrar. “Most of the concentrations were low and not dangerous to human health, but the findings showed that pesticides often find their way into rivers and streams and they don’t belong there.”

In an effort to solve the problem, the organization created PowerPoint training materials that users can download free.

The slides for landscape professionals have a different focus than the agriculture slides, but the information delivered is similar.

“Each looks at how pesticides get into water, at soil and pesticide properties that can contribute to pesticides getting into water, and at how to use integrated pest management practices to reduce pesticide contamination,” said Carrie Foss, Washington State University’s urban Integrated Pest Management director and one of the presentations’ authors. “We wanted it to be positive and practical.”

The presentations were peer reviewed before publication, and are designed to be a starting point for trainers who may be industry, academic or Extension specialists. Once downloaded, users can modify and customize the presentations.

“We expect people to take these modules and adapt them for their local audiences and needs,” Foss said. “We want trainers to add in information they feel is pertinent.”

For example, the presentations do not contain specific precautions about pyrethroids or organophosphates, and a few reviewers thought they should.

“That type of specific pesticide information is important and it’s something we expect a trainer to include as it relates to their area and audience,” Foss explained.

Western Integrated Pest Management Center hopes the training material reaches landscape contractors’ associations and other industry groups.

“We need all audiences thinking about what they can do to keep pesticides out of the water,” said University of Nevada’s Susan Donaldson, a co-author and water quality specialist and her state’s pesticide safety education coordinator. “Every little bit helps, and we want people to start doing what they can do.”

The Western Integrated Pest Management Center promotes integrated pest management practices to solve pest problems in agriculture, urban areas and natural lands throughout the West. It is one of four regional centers funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to promote integrated pest management practices and serves 13 Western states and the Pacific island territories.

 

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