Community Group Continues Push for IPM
Following a rapid and successful campaign to establish a city-wide Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, health and environmental advocates in Ketchum, Idaho are now pushing to broaden the reach of their new policy.
IPM is an approach to pest control that does not rely strictly on pesticides. By emphasizing prevention, cultural and mechanical controls, some IPM programs have reduced pesticide use by up to 93 percent. In April, Pesticide Action Network of Blaine County (PAN BC) passed an IPM policy in Ketchum that prioritizes such non-chemical measures and even forbids the use of a few highly toxic pesticides.
Since then, the group has spent the summer working to expand the implementation of this new policy throughout neighboring cities and the larger county. In June they began talks with the Bellevue City Council and the Blaine County Commission. Those talks expanded in July to include the City of Sun Valley and the City of Hailey as well.
Kathryn Goldman, PAN BC’s Campaign Director, reports that discussions have gone well throughout August and September and plans to reach out to the school district starting this month. “Kids spend a great deal of time on school playing fields and we know members of our coalition would like to see safer weed control on school grounds. We will be bringing our message to PTA groups and getting parents involved in the issue,” says Goldman.
On top of all this, Goldman and her group have devised and facilitated a fun and innovative pilot project using goats to control knapweed. Through a partnership with Blaine County Recreation District, PAN BC has worked with landowners to graze goats along the pedestrian and bicycle path that stretches the length of the Wood River Valley as an alternative to spraying herbicides. This has proven a popular method of weed control, and because the goats destroy the viability of 98% of the seeds during digestion, there is minimal risk that the knapweed will spread as a result. See Plum TV’s video coverage of the project.
“A few folks expressed initial doubts or concerns, but the results and the public response have been largely positive,” says Goldman.
The goats will retire after a six week grazing period, then return next summer for another six weeks, and then again the following summer.Moving into fall, PAN BC will release a guide to local weeds that includes non-chemical strategies for control. Keep an eye out for that here, and at www.pesticideactionnetwork.net.
On September 9, 2011, NCAP named Kathryn Goldman a 2011 Rachel Carson Award winner in recognition of her skillful organizing and accomplishments in pesticide policy reform. Congratulations Kathryn!