Press release provided by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation
On February 3rd, four County Agricultural Commissioners (CACs) announced a voluntary partnership with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to launch pilot projects to support DPR’s development of a statewide pesticide application notification system. The pilot projects will launch between February and July 2022 and will help inform the design and implementation of the state’s statewide notification system. The statewide system will provide more transparent and equitable access to information in advance of pesticide applications.
“The statewide notification system will complement existing pesticide laws and regulations that protect public health and the environment,” said DPR Director Julie Henderson. “The purpose of the notification system is to provide transparent and equitable access to information to enable the public to make informed decisions about actions they may take to protect their health. This voluntary partnership between County Agricultural Commissioners and DPR on pilot projects is an important step in the development of a statewide system. We look forward to feedback from community members, growers, and commissioners on the pilots to inform the statewide system and improve community access to information.”
The pilots will be conducted in communities located within Riverside, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus, and Ventura counties. Community members and growers will have the opportunity to share feedback on the pilots’ implementation with their CAC to help inform the design of the statewide system DPR is in the process of developing.
Riverside Notification System Pilot will provide notifications in the Eastern Coachella Valley and is expected to launch as early as February. Community members can contact the Riverside CAC office for more information.
“We are looking forward to working in partnership with DPR to improve the access to information for our community regarding upcoming pesticide applications,” said Riverside CAC Ruben Arroyo. “I’m hopeful these pilot programs will additionally support our collaborative outreach efforts to educate the public about the rigorous and unique pesticide program California has in place to protect people and the environment.”
Santa Cruz Notification System Pilot will provide notifications to the Senior Village Community in Watsonville and surrounding homes. The project is expected to launch in July. Community members can contact the Santa Cruz CAC office for more information on the project.
“We look forward to collaborating with DPR and our community on this project,” said Juan Hidalgo, Santa Cruz CAC. “We hope that in addition to providing notification to community members ahead of specific pesticide applications, this project will be helpful in informing our community about our state’s pesticide use regulatory program and protections in place to protect human health and the environment. Input received from our community as the project is implemented will be valuable in helping DPR develop a statewide notification system.”
Stanislaus Notification System Pilot will provide notifications to the community of Grayson. The project is expected to launch in April. Stanislaus CAC plans to coordinate community meetings in the near future to provide more information and will also share information on the pilot on the office’s website.
“Stanislaus County is looking forward to being a part of this important notification pilot project,” said Stanislaus CAC Kamal Bagri. “It will be beneficial to see how the system works for our communities and to identify potential challenges to better inform the public about pesticides around them. We hope the end result will make the statewide rollout a smoother process for DPR.”
Ventura Notification System Pilot will provide notifications to the Nyeland Acres Community. The project is expected to launch in April. Community members can reach out to the county’s Camarillo-based Pesticide Use Division (805) 388-4222 or contact the Ventura CAC online for more information.
“We look forward to conducting a pilot pesticide notification project in Ventura County to help develop a workable statewide program that will meet the needs of the community and build a stronger communication network among community members, farmers and the regulatory agencies that serve these sectors,” said Edmund E. Williams, Ventura CAC. “Ventura County looks forward to working with our state partners at DPR on this pilot.”
The 2021-22 state budget allocated $10 million to DPR to begin the development of a statewide notification system. DPR anticipates implementing the statewide system in 2024. In addition to supporting county-led pilot projects, DPR is planning public workshops this spring to collect input on the statewide notification system’s design. The department is additionally in the process of developing the technology for a statewide system and will draft the regulation to establish consistent, statewide requirements for the system’s implementation in 2024. To learn more about the DPR’s statewide notification system, visit the DPR’s website.
DPR and the state’s 55 CACs work together to enforce California’s comprehensive pesticide-use laws and regulations. DPR evaluates all pesticide products prior to registration for sales and use in California; creates regulations to mitigate any potential risk to human health and the environment; regularly re-evaluates pesticides based on scientific studies; monitors the air, water, and soil for pesticides; and tracks worker health and safety to inform mitigation efforts. CACs and their staff of more than 400 scientists and staff inspect pesticide application sites across all 58 counties; promote compliance with and enforce pesticide laws and regulations as guided by DPR and state regulations; and take action against violators. Commissioners’ local, on-the-ground enforcement efforts are critical to the implementation of pesticide laws and regulations to keep people and the environment safe.
“Partnering with DPR to support and enhance development of an effective statewide pesticide notification system is very important to California’s CACs,” said Rick Gurrola, Shasta County Agricultural Commissioner and president of the California Association of California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers Association. “Our role as CACs is to protect public health and the environment by rigorously enforcing and supporting compliance with all pesticide use laws and regulations. This new notification system will add an additional level of transparency and communication with the public and an opportunity to enhance education and outreach about the important rules and regulations in place to protect the health and wellness of fieldworkers and communities across California.”
To learn more about the pilot projects in counties across California, visit DPR’s website or visit your county agricultural commissioner websites for Santa Cruz, Stanislaus, Riverside and Ventura counties.