DOES THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE USE INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES?
Integrated Pest Management
(IPM) is an approach to pest management that employs physical, mechanical,
cultural, biological and educational tactics to keep pest numbers low
enough to prevent intolerable damage or annoyance. In an IPM program,
the least toxic, effective management options are utilized. This approach
to the management of pests fits perfectly with the National Park Services
mandate to protect all of the resources within the parks it manages. The
principles of IPM also fit nicely within the NPSs goal to decrease
the amount of risk, where possible, visitors and employees are exposed
to while spending time in a park. IPM looks at the biology of a pest and
attempts to manage it at the weakest point in its life cycle.
I NEED TO WRITE AN INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT PLAN (IPM) FOR MY PARK?
If you experience problems
with the same pests annually, then you should consider writing an IPM
Plan! If you have more than one person dealing with pest management problems
in your park, then you should write an IPM Plan for your park! If more
than one Division in your park is involved in the management of pests,
then you should have an IPM Plan! If you utilize contractors to assist
you in the management of pest issues, then you need an IPM Plan for the
An IPM Plan can be as simple
as a one page fact sheet to address each pest problem you have in the
park, or as complex as a book covering all aspects of pest biology, NPS
policy, and guidelines. The key to a successful IPM Plan is that it is
easy to use. Every employee in the park should be able to open the Plan
and quickly find current recommendations for the management of a pest.
This "simple" factor is particularly important to new employees
who need quick management advice without totally understanding all of
the laws, regulations, and guidelines that support the program. For contractors,
a well-written IPM Plan can quickly define the parks IPM goals and
desires. Although the basic information that is put into an IPM plan changes
very little from year to year, the plan should still be viewed as a living
document that needs to be examined and updated regularly.
IS THE FORMAT FOR AN IPM PLAN?
The format you use is really
up to you. What is important is that certain things are included. First,
it is important to define the parks goals and how pest management
fits into them. It is extremely important to define the different roles
people will fill in managing pests in the park. Sell/educate/inform every
employee on the benefits of managing all pests in the park using IPM practices.
Define pest management issues. Here is how it should look:
Define park IPM goals
Examine pest biology and
Look at natural enemies,
Establish monitoring effort
to better determine pests
Determine acceptable injury
levels or thresholds
Determine action thresholds
when management is initiated
Management options (tactics
Cultural management options/
options/ Chemical options
Integration of acceptable
Monitoring to determine
resource condition and pest levels
(Continue the Assessment/Decision
THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE HAVE A LIST OF APPROVED PESTICIDES?
There is no list of pesticides
approved for use in the Parks of the Northeast Region. Each request and/or
application of a pesticide is made only after a specific pest issue has
been examined and that particular pesticide is selected as the best management
tool available. What is an appropriate use of a pesticide for one specific
pest management issue, may not be the best option the next time that pest
appears. Every park manager should have some idea of the specific pest
management tools available to her or him. However, the actual selection
of a tool or management practice for use against a pest can be made only
after looking at the specific circumstances present at the potential treatment
site. Circumstances such as where the pest is located, thresholds for
damage, visitor and employee use and safety, time of the year, weather
conditions, and resource value and condition play a major role in determining
each pest management strategy.
I STOP USING ALL PESTICIDES IN MY PARK?
Used properly, pesticides
are valuable tools for the management of some pests. The key to all pest
management efforts is to know when to utilize a particular tool and when
not to. Like all management tools, pesticides are not always the best
available option for handling a particular pest situation. One of the
major goals of the National Park Services IPM Program is to balance
the need to control pests with the need to protect all park visitors and
park employees. This goal is accomplished by carefully examining the severity
of the pest situation along with the management objectives of the particular
park. After determining the needs of the park, management options can
be outlined, utilizing the least toxic "effective" options available.
Sometimes those options will include the use of pesticides.
ALL EXOTIC PLANT SPECIES INVASIVE?
There are at least 4,500 species
of exotic plants and animals that have established free-living populations
in the United States since the beginning of European colonization. Most
of these plants and animals are things we see and eat everyday. However,
about 15% of those exotic species are considered harmful or invasive.
Invasive plants, for example, tend to have characteristics that permit
them to rapidly invade new areas and out compete native plants for light,
water, and nutrients. Some of these characteristics include profuse reproduction
by seed and/or vegetative structures; adaptations for the spread of crop
seeds; production of toxins that suppress the growth of other plants;
roots or rhizomes with large food reserves; and a high photosynthetic
rates. All of these characteristics enable the invasive plants to dominate
a site and eventually eliminate most, if not all, of the resident native
species. All efforts should be made to assist the perpetuation of native
species over the introduction of exotic species. It is always important
to remember that when resources are short, address invasive species first.