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NID pursues integrated vegetation management options

Continuing its efforts to find better ways to reduce the use of herbicides, Nevada Irrigation District (NID) stays committed to fine-tuning its vegetation management.

The District has learned it has qualified for the second round of a Pest Management Research Grant Program through the state Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). More than $1 million in grants will be awarded in March 2018.

“This is a competitive grant. If we are fortunate to get it, we would develop a research trial study that would look at many different types of organic herbicides and alternative methods for vegetation reduction along our canals and reservoirs,” said NID General Manager Rem Scherzinger. “This research might serve to help other irrigation districts throughout the State with their vegetation management issues.”

NID has an integrated management strategy in place to control problematic vegetation along the berms of its 474 miles of canals. This vegetation restricts flows and reduces water quality in the waterways, impacting water deliveries and adding costs. Foremost, impeded water flow can become a public health issue with increased algae blooms and a breeding ground for mosquitos.

Currently the District uses diverse methods to control vegetation to ensure maximum water flow and system efficiency. These practices include: grazing goats, weed tarping, hand cleaning by crews, mechanical cleaning by tractors and using herbicides.

The District has committed resources and staff time to find affordable alternatives to using herbicides. To assist with those efforts, a working group of 16 individuals comprised of community members and local organizations met in August to propose options and alternatives utilizing their expertise in this field. The group includes a representative for each of NID’s five directors plus individuals from local groups, such as area agricultural commissions, farm bureaus and resource conservation districts.

Recommendations from that meeting have been incorporated into the proposal that District staff and consultants developed for a trial research program to test viable alternatives. Technical support has been provided by local integrated pest management experts, including Sierra Consulting & IPM, organic advisors at Heaven and Earth Farm and Felix Gillet Institute, the University of California Cooperative Extension and Plumas Corporation.

This trial research will be implemented by the District whether or not the DPR grant money is awarded, Scherzinger said.

 

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