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From the UC Blogosphere...

Light brown apple moth may not be so bad

A story in the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday called into question the current USDA and CDFA attempts to eradicate the light brown apple moth in Bay Area communities. According to UC Santa Cruz botanist Daniel Harder, cited by reporter Jane Kay, "It's not such a nasty pest."

The reporter also spoke to UC Davis entomology professor James Carey. He said the plan to completely eradicate LBAM "won't work."

"The pest has been here so long and is so widespread . . . it's virtually impossible to eradicate them," Carey is quoted.

UC integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom agreed, according to the article, that it's better to try to suppress - and not eradicate - the moth in urban areas.

"Using pheromones over urban areas runs into expense and conflict," he is quoted. "I think they should be considering other options."

A male and a female LBAM.
A male and a female LBAM.

Posted on Friday, March 7, 2008 at 9:40 AM

UCCE key resource for shopping information

The Modesto Bee ran a story yesterday about a new book by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross titled "Cheap. Fast. Good!" The article provided 10 common sense tips for readers for saving money on groceries and keeping food prices from busting your budget.

In offering resources, the paper prominently listed UC Cooperative Extension, with the phone number of the Stanislaus County office, a provider, the article said, "of nutrition classes and publications on frugal food tips."

In short, the tips in the article say:

  1. Track spending
  2. Make a plan
  3. Check the per-unit price
  4. Buy on sale
  5. Don't shop when hungry
  6. Look beyond the supermarket
  7. Buy in season
  8. Eat all the food you prepare
  9. Wean yourself
  10. Pack your lunch
Posted on Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 8:17 AM

Desert Sun reports on UC natural resources conference

Keith Matheny of the Desert Sun joined UC natural resources advisors, specialists and professors on a field trip to view the aftermath of the Paradise Fire, where 3,000 acres burned in 2005, and the Sawtooth-Millard Complex Fire, where 35,000 acres burned in 2006.

Matheny noted in the article that much of the plant regrowth is invasive species that are threatening the recovery of native plants and creating more fuel for wildfires in the future.

The article quoted Dee Zeller, a naturalist at the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve:

"From 2005 to now, you had to hunt to find Sahara mustard. Now you don't have to hunt. We can spend a lot of time hacking it out of here, and we will. But it's a no-win proposition."

The print version of the article, prominantly displayed on front page of the local news section, is quite a bit longer than the story posted on the Desert Sun Web site.

It includes information about research by UC Riverside professor Edie Allen on nitrogen deposition and its impact on wildfire risk. Allen studies the nitrogen that is deposited on wildland from air pollution.

"The exotic grasses are here. We're not going to get rid of them," Allen is quoted. "What we want to stop is allowing them to be so abundant that the native species can't exist any more. And spreading around fertilizer in the form of air pollution is one way to make them spread."

Posted on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 9:28 AM

Natural resources conference addresses fire issues

In the wake of last fall's devastating Southern California wildfires, UC Cooperative Extension natural resources advisors are gathering in Palm Desert March 4 and 5 to discuss wildfire reasons, resilience and recovery. The news media have been invited and have shown interest, so the likelihood is high the conference will result in press coverage. A news release distributed by the UC Riverside news service is available online.

The conference begins with field trips the morning of the 4th to areas burned by recent wildfires -- one on desert landscape, the other on mountainous terrain. Afternoon workshops and an evening poster session -- where UC scientists from around the state share their research results -- round out the day.

On Thursday, scientists will make presentation to answer these and other questions:

  • Why do some houses burn in a wildfire while others are spared?
  • How should homeowners maintain fuel breaks around structures?
  • Is the practice of seeding burned areas is effective?
  • What are good, fire-safe landscaping practices?
  • What are the ecological and environmental drivers of fire frequency?

I'll post links on this blog to any media coverage of the natural resources continuing conference as articles appear.

Posted on Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 6:52 AM

UCCE called again for good news and bad

UC Cooperative Extension made two appearances in the news over the weekend, one covering the planting of 1,000 trees at the coast, the other the possible closing of a mountain camp.

The Salinas Californian covered the tree planting day sponsored by UC Cooperative Extension on the Central Coast.

UCCE natural resource specialist Bill Tietje said the planting day, mentioned in this blog in February, "couldn't have been more perfect." About 75 people showed up to help, and the weather was ideal.

"We had a good rainfall before the planting followed by a sunny day to plant," he was quoted in the article, "and then rainfall that night to water (the saplings) in."

The top story in the Appeal-Democrat today covered the possible closure of a 4-H camp that serves Sutter and Yuba county youth. The closure is due to financial issues. Yuba County's administrative services office owns the land and allows the university to use it in exchange for maintenance services. The cost exceeds the 4-H budget by about $3,000, the article says.

"It just doesn't make financial sense," county director Mike Murray is quoted in the paper. "Our kids use it one week a year, but we pay to maintain it 52 weeks a year."

Posted on Monday, March 3, 2008 at 10:38 AM

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