Los Angeles State Historic Park Gets Savvy About IPM
The IssueThe restoration of the Los Angeles Historic Park provided an incredible opportunity to develop and implement an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program for the 32-acre park, which is located close to downtown Los Angeles. The plans for the park were well laid out and the plant palette and planting design allowed Cheryl Wilen (Area IPM Advisor) and consultant Phil Boise (Urban Ag Ecology) and others to focus on specific areas where they could provide IPM guidance to the park staff. Because this park is one of the few green spaces in a densely populated area, it is well used by the ethnically and age-diverse communities surrounding the park. The park is also adjacent to the Los Angeles River. In fact, it was so important to the community that a local organization, Metabolic Studio, funded this project. Therefore, it was critical that the pest management program was designed to reduce human exposure to pesticides and pesticide runoff into the river.
What Has ANR Done?Working with input from a steering committee for this three-year project, UC ANR and collaborators developed an IPM Policy that the park can follow to make pest management decisions, prioritize management resources, and refer to when the public requires rationale about how the park is managed as related to pest management. Wilen and Boise held workshops for the park's landscaping and science interpretation staff to train them about plant health, soil improvement, and implementation of IPM, often using the resources from the UC IPM Program (http://IPM.UCANR.EDU).
Workshops and tools led to increased awareness and new practices in the Park"We found that the landscaping staff became much more aware of the ways they could modify their practices to reduce pest problems after Cheryl and I trained them at the workshops." (Phil Boise from Urban Ag Ecology). In addition to the workshops, Wilen and research assistant Monica Dimson used the landscape architectural plan provided by the Park to create a guidebook which includes common pest issues related to plants. The park staff and others, including visitors, are now using the guidebook to identify pests and report to the IPM Coordinator (https://ucanr.edu/sites/Southern_IPM/files/241213.pdf). Further, a volunteer, inspired by the guidebook, developed a citizen science project in the iNaturalist app (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/los-angeles-state-historic-park). There have been over 600 observations recorded in the iNaturalist project, and 212 species have been identified including some beneficials and pests. Finally, the informational brochures that were developed in English, Spanish, and Mandarin are being distributed by the park’s educational staff to the public that visits the park. This collaborative project successfully developed comprehensive resources to reduce exposure to pesticides, while raising awareness and increasing enjoyment in a valued urban green space.