Jan 26, 2023

On January 26, the Secretaries of the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) 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. The Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap for California lays out a plan to better protect the health of our communities and environment, while supporting agriculture, food systems and community well-being. 

Dr. Kelly Moran, senior scientist with San Francisco Estuary Institute, was among the leaders present to celebrate the roadmap’s release, the culmination of two years of collaboration with two dozen California leaders    to chart a course for the state’s transition to sustainable pest management in agricultural and urban settings.

Dr. Moran joined a diverse work group of leaders and stakeholders that collaborated with leaders from the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), CalEPA, and CDFA to develop the sustainable pest management plan across agricultural and urban areas.  Dr. Moran brought her decades of experience studying pesticides, particularly their use in urban areas, to the state’s process.

Though public focus tends to be on agricultural pesticide use, the Regional Monitoring Program (RMP) for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay has noted concern for pesticide use in urban areas across a variety of studies in surface water, sediment, wastewater, and stormwater.  

“On the order of half of all California pesticide use is urban,” noted Dr. Moran. “Urban pesticides are often things that we don’t think of as pesticides, like bleach and janitorial products. They are in our building paint, roofing, and even our clothes. We use them on our pets. A few urban pesticides are highly hazardous. Most pesticide-related illnesses are not in farms and fields - they are in homes, institutions, and businesses.”

The roadmap charts a course for a statewide transition to sustainable pest management, defined as a holistic, system wide 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. Though IPM has been practiced to varying degrees for decades, it has not been adopted at scale in either agriculture, urban, or wildland settings.

“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 market and enhancing monitoring and statewide data collection to better inform actions.”

A public comment period is currently open until March 13, 2023 on the prioritization and implementation of next steps outlined in the Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap. Comments can be sent to [email protected] or by mail to 1001 I Street, P.O. Box 4015, Sacramento, CA 95812-401.

DPR and partner agencies will host a series of webinars in February to discuss the recommendations and actions outlined in the Sustainable Pest Management Roadmap for both agricultural and urban landscapes, with more information available at DPR’s website.

Associated Staff: 
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Clean Water Program
Contaminants of Emerging Concern