Statewide Pesticide Use–California Draft Environmental Impact Report

California Statewide Pesticide Use

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a Statewide Plant Pest Prevention and Management Program.

Source: www.cdfa.ca.gov

GR:  The EIR considers approaches and alternatives and describes an “Environmentally Superior Alternative” that seems more destructive than beneficial.  The Alternative does not appear to me to be prudent in light of recent determinations of the harmful consequences of pesticide use.

A “No Pesticide Alternative,” is included, but its description criticizes the alternative in the first sentence.  The Department says, “It could cause other adverse environmental impacts because alternative management methods are not anticipated to be as effective in controlling or managing pests.”

There are guidelines for the safe use of pesticides, but I believe guidelines are outdated and inadequate.  As native species and ecosystems are damaged, invasive species spread even more quickly. Moreover, invasive species evolve pesticide resistance.  The continued use of pesticides-while ecosystems decline and super bugs form is a short-term (rape and pillage) strategy.

Throughout the report, the Department fails to consider recommending changing crops and practices to avoid pest impacts.  Of course, we might have passed the point where we can feed our growing population without pesticides.  In this case, we can look forward to a time of forced population decline.  When our ecosystems fail to moderate storms and floods, and they stop absorbing toxic wastes from the farms, food production will fall.

The full report and the address for comments are available here.

Invasive Plants Are Destroying North American Desert Ecosystems

Invasive species, like storm troopers leading the surging ruin of global warming, are overwhelming Earth’s ecosystems.

Introduction to Invasive Plants in Deserts

One or a few species of invasive plants can replace native plant communities across entire landscapes. Biodiversity and stability of vegetation, soils, and wildlife decline dramatically. Once the replacement is complete, it is difficult to restore the original species. In some instances, the replacement is so widespread there are not enough resources available to achieve restoration. The loss is permanent.

Invasive non-native species are a central management concern for all wild land managers because they “threaten biodiversity and other ecological functions and values” (Warner et al. 2003). This statement represents a consensus by the scientists and land managers concerned with natural ecosystems (e.g., Mau-Crimmins et al. 2005). Native vegetation is more diverse, resilient, and persistent than invasive plant vegetation; it provides food and cover for wildlife, absorbs precipitation, increases water storage, protects soil, reduces flooding and sedimentation, and helps maintain air and water quality. According to the Sonoran Institute: “Invasive species are the second most significant threat to biological diversity after direct habitat loss”.

Full post with references: garryrogers.com

White-footed Mice Prefer Native Plants

White-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) prefer native fruits over invasive honeysuckle fruits

White-footed Mouse

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Roads and Transmission Corridors Aid Plant Invasions

By Garry Rogers

Roads and Transmission Corridors

Any type of construction destroys vegetation and disturbs the surrounding area.  Roads and transmission corridors do even more.

New Pipeline in Central Arizona.  Native chaparral removed, heavily grazed, constant traffic.

New Pipeline in Central Arizona. Native chaparral removed, heavily grazed, constant traffic.

Throughout human history roads and trails have been the principal routes for long-distance weed dispersal (Cousens and Mortimer 1995).  During the past century, power lines and pipelines have spread across the land.  Their construction removes vascular plants (Vasek et al. 1975a, 1975b), BSCs (Belnap 2001), and AMFs, and prepares the soil for colonizing weeds.  New lines often do not follow existing roads and corridors.  Instead, they take direct routes that allow weeds to disperse to areas they would not reach using their own dispersal mechanisms (e.g., Tyser and Worley 1992, Wein et al. 1992, Zink et al. 1995).

Weeds spread with surprising speed along roads and transmission corridors (Macfarlane 1997, Trombulak and Frissell 2000, Pauchard and Alaback 2004, Brisson et al. 2009, Mortensen et al. 2009).  The primary dispersal vectors are wind, inspection vehicles, livestock grazing, and recreation vehicles.  Continue reading