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City of Irvine adopts new Integrated Pest Management policy solving pest problems while minimizing risks to people and the environment.

The Issue

Integrated pest management (IPM) in non-agricultural areas such as residential, commercial areas including schools and parks, and structural locations is becoming increasingly important as California's population grows. Pesticides used by both commercial and non-commercial applicators can impact water quality in local watersheds resulting in loss of use of their water bodies. Additionally, widespread use of pesticides can impact public health and disrupt naturally occurring pest management systems.

What Has ANR Done?

At the request of the City of Irvine's Landscape Department, UCCE Advisors Cheryl Wilen and Darren Haver reviewed and revised the city's Integrated Pest Management Plan. This review was driven by community members' request to the City Council to reduce the amount of synthetic pesticide used by the city. Wilen and Haver provided input and revision to the new policy and Wilen attended the City Council meeting to provide technical support.

The Payoff

New IPM policy adooption leads to reduced synthetic pesticide use

The City of Irvine’s new IPM policy was adopted 5-0 and put in place immediately: February 23, 2016. The new policy includes a prioritization process when pesticides are used as part of the IPM Program. While the policy does not prohibit the use of synthetic pesticides, organic pesticides are used first and as long as they are effective at managing pests to meet the city's standards they are used. The guiding principles are to emphasize use of effective organic pesticides in and on all city properties whenever practical, limit pesticides exposure to where children and the general public congregate and use EPA Level III, II, or in extreme circumstances Level I pesticides in a targeted manner and only if deemed necessary to protect public health and economic impact by a licensed pest control adviser and city staff, when pests cannot be managed by other methods. As a result, the amount of synthetic pesticide use has been reduced. Organic herbicides are being used where appropriate and mowing and hand-weeding used for larger areas. The city has implemented IPM by increasing monitoring and improved plant selection to minimize pest establishment. All 6700 acres of the city’s parks, open space, and streetscapes are affected by the IPM plan which approaches solving pest problems while minimizing risks to people (over 250,000 people live in Irvine) and the environment.


Supporting Unit: Orange County - UC Cooperative Extension

Statewide IPM
Cheryl Wilen, cawilen@ucanr.edu, Area IPM Advisor, IPM Advisor Extension Coordinator, EIPD Strategic Initiative Leader

Darren Haver, dlhaver@ucanr.edu, Water Resources/ Water Quality Advisor, Director of South Coast REC and UCCE Orange County