[From the April 2014 issue of the UC IPM Green Bulletin newsletter] Over the last several decades dozens of exotic pests have invaded California landscapes, causing at least temporary havoc and sometimes severely affecting the aesthetic value of...
The Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI) at UC Davis announced today that Mary Bianchi of the University of
The annual award will be presented to Bianchi tomorrow, April 15, at a ceremony featuring distinguished speaker LaDonna Redmond.
The Bradford-Rominger award recognizes and honors individuals who exhibit the leadership, work ethic and integrity epitomized by the late Eric Bradford, a livestock geneticist who gave 50 years of service to UC Davis, and the late Charlie Rominger, a fifth-generation Yolo County farmer and land preservationist.
Bianchi has worked for UC Cooperative Extension for 20 years, currently serving as Farm Advisor and County Director for San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara counties. Among her achievements include the development and implementation of a water quality workshop series that required collaboration of over 100 team members and brought timely and essential information on water quality management to 2,200 growers in California.
Bianchi is quick to share her success. “I've had partners in all the efforts that I've undertaken who just wanted to find a way to get information out to people so that they can make their own decision. Sometimes that means staying within the lines, and sometimes that means stretching and taking some risks and being willing to push the envelope. Growers, industry, agencies and universities have stepped up to find a way to make our efforts work.”
Eric Bradford and Charlie Rominger are remembered for their abilities to approach major agricultural challenges with grace, honesty, and a commitment to collaboration across disciplines and interests.
Sonja Brodt, Academic Coordinator at ASI says Bianchi “does not hesitate to address the critical needs of her clientele, even if they require extending herself into new subject areas. She is down-to-earth and creates the space in collaborations for each party's concerns to be heard and valued in the process to reach viable solutions.”
Bianchi's own work ethic reflects those qualities. “I think that you do create change one person at a time by listening to what they have to say and respecting the fact that they are bringing their own successes and constraints and baggage that you don't know about,” says Bianchi.
“Eric and Charlie were a lot the same way,” she continues. “If you see that there's a need, you just find a way to make it work. And you find the people that are willing to do that with you and it happens.”
Learn more about the award on the Agricultural Sustainability Institute's web site.
After the Bradford-Rominger award is presented to Bianchi at tomorrow's ceremony, distinguished speaker LaDonna Redmond will speak on “Food + Justice = Democracy.” Redmond is a food justice activist who was inspired to fight for a fairer food system after facing limited access to healthy, organic food in her Chicago community. To facilitate her community's food access, she launched an initiative converting vacant lots into urban farms.
She is founder of the Campaign for Food Justice Now, an organization focused on social justice within the food system, creating community-based solutions and engaged advocacy.
Eric Bradford and Charlie Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award Ceremony
5:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 15
Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center
UC Davis campus
This event is free and open to the public. Students are encouraged to attend.
The recent warm spring weather has stimulated aphid outbreaks in many landscapes and gardens. Two short YouTube videos from the University of California Statewide IPM Program show how to battle these pests without pesticides. Hosing Off Aphids...
Rose aphid infestation
[From March 2013 issue of the Retail Nursery and Garden Center IPM News.] Spotted winged drosophila (SWD), Drosophila suzukii, is a fruit fly that first arrived in California in the late 2000s and now is present throughout most of the state (Figure...
In a videotaped presentation, Harter said California's Central Valley is like a giant bathtub; its walls are the Sierra Nevada and coast mountain ranges. Clay, silt, sand and gravel washed into the bathtub over millions of years and fresh water from streams, rivers and rainfall soaked into pores between sand and gravel pieces, between clay and silt particles, and in the fissures and cracks in rocks, where it has accumulated for eons.
Harter outlines the nature of California's groundwater situation in a 30-minute video that is part of the UC California Institute for Water Resources online video series. The series consists of presentations featuring UC and other experts speaking on topics aimed at helping farmers and all Californians better understand and cope with drought.
In the 1920s and 30s, farmers began pumping groundwater in vast quantities to grow summer crops on the flat dry surface. It wasn't long before the land began to sink, especially on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and in the Tulare Lake Basin.
“Land surface levels declined as much as 30 feet during the 20th century,” Harter said.
In the 1970s, the state water project made surface water supplies available to farmers, allowing underground water to recover. However, in the last 10 years, as surface supplies have declined, farmers are drilling deeper wells to irrigate crops. Once again the land surface has begun to subside, Harter said.
For the most part, farmers have free reign when it comes to pumping groundwater.
“Landowners are not owners of the groundwater below them,” Harter said. “But they have the right to use the groundwater.” There is a constitutional mandate that all groundwater goes for beneficial use.
In the video, Harter reviews the tangle of regulations and agencies involved in managing the state's groundwater.
“About 42 percent of groundwater basins in California have some form of groundwater management plan,” Harter said. The plans contain some basic elements, but are lacking in terms of enforcement mandate, integration with surface water management and the power for agencies to manage demand.
“One of the biggest political questions is what are the roles of the state, local and regional agencies?” Harter said. “The State Water Control Board recently emphasized that it is pursuing a primarily local, regional management approach to groundwater management. But still it has an oversight role and defining that oversight role is something we will be looking at over the next few months and years.”
View the video here: