Fraser Valley Pest - Enhancing Information and Collaboration for Managing Emerging Pests (2018)

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Overview

In 2014-2015, the Fraser Valley Adaptation Strategies planning process brought together the Fraser Valley’s agricultural producers and local and provincial government partners to evaluate climate change impacts on local agricultural production, and to develop strategies and actions to address the associated challenges. 

During 2016, a project was implemented to accomplish the identified priority action to undertake “an assessment of immediate and near-term [pest] threats to the sector.” Initiated in 2017, this project builds on the completed assessment by addressing additional actions including strengthening partnerships and collaboration to improve pest monitoring and management, and increasing the availability of “effective informational materials for producers for pest identification, management and control options.” (Climate Action Initiative 2015, pp. 26) 

As the climate changes, regional weather patterns are shifting (Beddington et al. 2012; Vermeulen et al. 2012), altering the growing conditions and creating the potential for changing population patterns of agricultural pests across the Fraser Valley (Climate Action Initiative 2015). This is likely to make some pests more challenging to manage, and proactive planning and action are needed across the agricultural sector. 

The 2016 assessment developed an inventory that documented pest-related activities in the Fraser Valley, as well as perceived pest threats across 30 agricultural commodities. This resulted in documentation of over 300 pest-related projects that have been conducted in the Fraser Valley over the past five years. Interviews with specialists, growers and producers helped to identify priority pests of concern, particularly those perceived as having a changing presence in the Fraser Valley. Following the completion of the inventory, results were shared through a cross- commodity workshop in December 2016 which also enabled pest specialists and leaders from across the agriculture sector to share priorities and acknowledge common goals. 

The project summarized through this report moved forward with several next steps to encourage cross-sector connections and to apply the information gathered in the 2016 inventory. The project analyzed inventory results to prioritize near-term pest threats and their associated management challenges. This enabled the selection of particular pests and management topics as a focus for fact sheets and additional strategic planning. The catalogue of pest-related projects created in 2016 was updated, ensuring it provides an accurate list of projects completed and underway (to facilitate linkages and avoid unnecessary repetition of research). 

Two focus groups held in 2017 brought together relevant individuals to define actions needed to address specific pests of concern (spotted wing drosophila and helminths). These sessions encouraged participants to define initiatives to enhance monitoring, management, research, or education related to the pest of concern. A cross-commodity workshop was held in December 2017 to share overall project results, to continue to strengthen the focus on common solutions, and provide an opportunity for networking. 

The analysis of the Fraser Valley Pest Assessment Inventory has allowed for development of new knowledge transfer resources (seven fact sheets) as well as the initiation of more focused strategic collaboration. This project is not an end point, but a starting point for a shared approach to addressing the challenges of emerging pest threats in the Fraser Valley. Through analysis, outreach and collaboration the two completed projects provide a foundation for a cohesive and coordinated approach to shared pest threats. 

Project objectives 

  1. Analyse 2016 inventory to identify pest (animal, plant and disease) priorities. 
  2. Develop fact sheets for several pests or pest groups that are identified as high priority from Objective 1. 
  3. Update project list from 2016 inventory. 
  4. Plan and implement two group sessions focused on developing short and long-term solutions for monitoring, management, education or research of specific pests identified in Objective 1. 
  5. Plan and implement a cross-commodity workshop to foster collaboration and communicate project findings. 

 

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