University of California

Monthly news roundup: November 2017

The shot hole borer beetle could kill 38 percent of all trees in the L.A. region
Akif Eskalen Shannon Lynch, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 30, 2017
The shot hole borer could kill as many as 27 million trees in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties — roughly 38% of all trees in the urban region. Because such an unusually wide variety of tree species are susceptible to this pest-disease, it has spread quickly throughout urban forests, wildlands and avocado groves across Southern California.

Sudden oak death rampant in Sonoma County after two wet winters, raising longterm fire risks
Guy Kovner, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Nov. 29, 2017
After two wet winters, the pathogen that causes Sudden Oak Death reached a record level of infection this year, reported the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Results of the latest UC survey showed a 10-fold increase over 2015 — from 3.8 percent to 37 percent this year — in the sudden oak death infection rate in an area that includes Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, Sonoma and Petaluma. The spread of sudden oak death could further transform North Coast forests already ravaged by drought and altered by climate change, increasing their vulnerability to catastrophic fire, said UCCE specialist Matteo Garbolotto.

Village Nurseries donates 300 plants to UC Davis/UC ANR field trials for landscape water needs
Village Nurseries, BusinessWire, Nov. 29, 2017
To help meet California's mandatory landscape ordinances for water conservation, Village Nurseries donated 300 plants to the University of California Landscape Plant Irrigation Trials. The studies, to be conducted at UC Davis and the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine, aim to determine water needs for landscape plants. The goal is to develop information on water use of landscape plants in both locations. Principal investigator of the project is Karrie Reid, the UC Cooperative Extension Environmental Horticulture advisor in San Joaquin County. Darren Haver is the project manager at SCREC.

Video: Los más recientes esfuerzos educativos en Santa María (Video: The most recent educational efforts in Santa Maria)
Univision, Nov 28, 2017
A Spanish-speaking UCCE nutrition educator explained that the UCCE educators visit low-income schools to teach children how to improve their diets. For example, they remind the students that punch drinks are very high in sugar. Another educator says the lessons include directions for gardening and incorporating the fresh vegetables into meals.

California fire policies sidestep one key factor: wind
Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 26, 2017
The causes of the Northern California wildfires in October are under investigation. But for a number of the fires, the prime suspects are sparking power lines and electrical equipment downed by winds that gusted to more than 70 mph. A few highly flammable parts of the world are taking tougher stands. National planning regulations in France now require communities in the country's fire-prone south to bar development in certain high fire-hazard zones. “It's not terribly popular. But they do have the ability to make that happen,” said Susan Kocher, a natural resources advisor with the UC Cooperative Extension who spent a sabbatical in France and recently published a research paper on the topic.

Many college students going hungry, need donated food groceries and food stamps
Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 23, 2017
A 2015 University of California survey of 9,000 students conducted by the UC Nutrition Policy Institute's Susanna Martinez and Lorrene Ritchie, and UCSB's Katie Maynard, sheds light on student hunger. It said nearly 1 in 5 students, 19 percent, said they had too little to eat “due to limited resources.” Another 23 percent routinely ate substandard food with little variation.

Open space committee priority list in the works
Independent News, Nov. 23, 2017
Funds for acquisition of open space lands in eastern Alameda County are available as a result of a legal settlement in connection with expansion of the Altamont Landfill. A subcommittee comprised of Livermore Councilmember Bob Woerner and Sierra Club representative Dick Schneider will work with Van Butsic, UCCE specialist, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management at UC  Berkeley, to identify priority areas that could be purchased.

UC researchers take a look at the ecological impact of pot farming
Julie Mitric, Capital Public Radio, Nov. 21, 2017
Marijuana farms break up continuous stretches of forest into small pieces, and impact that is ecologically significant because it influences how nutrients cycle through the ecosystem and how wildlife moves. "It impacts what habitat are available for different species. Some species like large continuous areas of forest and other species like to live on the edge of forest. And so more fragmented forest may be better habitat for them," said UC Cooperative Extension specialist Van Butsic said.

Sweet potatoes are very taty and healthy, too
Modesto Bee, Nov. 21, 2017
Thanks to the Merced River, the county's sandy soil is ideal for sweet potatoes, says Scott Stoddard, UCCE advisor who counts sweet potatoes among his specialties. Unlike, say, citrus, which is being hit by citrus greening disease, sweet potatoes haven't been struck by pestilence, beyond nematodes (which are always are a bane).

An afternoon of learning at Liberty School in Santa Maria: 4-H students apply new knowledge of nutrition, gardening, community service
Gina Kim, Santa Maria Times, Nov. 18, 2017
4-H members from five low-income schools prepared dinner for more than 100 guests after hands-on learning taught them about nutrition, gardening and community service. The project, called 4-H SNAC (Student Nutrition Advisory Council) Clubs, is a collaboration between UC CalFresh Nutrition Education and UC 4-H Youth Development in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties and the schools.

Students battle it out in Agribee
Dani Anguiano, Chico Enterprise-Record, Nov. 17, 2017
The Butte County Farm Bureau and the UC Cooperative Extension nutrition education program put on an “agribee” program to educate students about agriculture and the role it plays in Butte County. The students spell and define words like xylem, weevil, phosophorus, anvil and apiary.

Good works
Orange County Register, Nov. 17, 2017
The Orange County Farm Bureau has donated nearly $1 million dollars to four colleges and universities establishing scholarships and permanent endowments to support ag education. In January, a gift of $500,000 was made to UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, which established the OCFB Presidential Chair for Agriculture Education at the South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine. The gift was matched by the university to create a $1 million endowment. Three additional gifts of $165,000 each were given to Cal Poly Pomona, Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Greener pastures aren't always the best
Natalie Cowan, The California Aggie, Nov. 16, 2017
Huanglongbing disease of citrus may lie dormant in a citrus plant for years before symptoms become visual. By the time growers are aware that a plant is contaminated, the disease may have spread among the grove. “While you're allowing these trees to be productive and potentially making money from them they are the Typhoid Mary,” said Carolyn Slupsky, a UC ANR food science researcher. Slupsky and other researchers are studying new early detection methods.

Burned trees in North Coast fire areas pose dilemma for homeowners
Guy Kovner, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Nov. 16, 2017
Tree advocates are urging restraint in removing burned trees and shrubs following wildfire in favor of waiting at least until spring to see if fresh green growth emerges from vegetation that has adapted to survive fire. UCCE advisor Steven Swain believes landowners should consult with an arborist before removing large trees. “Oaks survive fires when when they look terrible, with the leaves burned off,” he said.

Kids learn about food and farm at Agriculture Field Day
Dani Anguiano, Oroville Mercury Register, Nov. 16, 2017
Every year more than 150 fourth-grades learn about local agriculture and commodities at an agricultural field day sponsored by the Butte County Farm, Home and 4-H Support Group and coordinated by the Butte County Cooperative Extension's UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program. “It gives them hands-on exposure to agriculture in the county,” UC CalFresh Program Coordinator Rita Palmer said. “For many of them it's their first exposure to agriculture and there's a lot of excitement.”

These Sacramento suburban neighborhoods face the highest risk of wildfire
Ryan Lillis, Sacramento Bee, Nov. 13, 2017
Urban and suburban areas are susceptible to devastating blazes in Northern California. “I think (the Santa Rosa fire) served as a wake up for us that that sort of destruction could happen on such a scale,” said Susie Kocher, UCCE natural resources advisor. “We've gotten comfortable thinking it's a Southern California problem, but clearly it's not. This is California – we have to be thinking about all the hazards in our landscape.” The state's Cal Fire agency maps fire hazard severity zones for California's 58 counties. UCCE forestry specialist Bill Stewart, who helped draft the most recent maps in 2007, said the data was generated by examining a region's topography and vegetation, and otherwise “wasn't the most sophisticated model.”

What Is a GMO?
Jenny Splitter, Mental Floss, Nov. 13, 2017
it's hard to find an organism in any way connected to humans that hasn't been genetically modified, says Alison Van Eenennaam, UC Cooperative Extension animal biotechnology specialist. "I might argue that a great Dane or a Corgi are 'genetically modified' relative to their ancestor, the wolf," she said. "'GMO' is not a very useful term. Modified for what and why is really the more important question.”

Santa Maria's 4-H SNAC clubs provide nutritional education to low-income families
Kasey Bubnash, Santa Maria Sun, Nov. 13, 2017
The 4-H Student Nutrition Advisory Council (SNAC) clubs are providing local students with healthy food tastings, nutritional presentations, and gardening lessons so those kids can in turn teach their classmates and families about healthy choices. The 4-H SNAC program is a collaborative effort between UC CalFresh Nutrition Education, UC 4-H Youth Development, and the Santa Maria-Bonita School District. “For nutrition education, reaching low-income populations is critical and crucial,” said Shannon Klisch, Cal Fresh Community Education Supervisor. “We know a lot of low-income communities don't have the same access to healthy foods or places to get active.”

A day at the 6th Annual Hopland Sheepdog Trials
Hillary Mojeda, Ukiah Daily News, Nov. 13, 2017
For three days last weekend, sheep, dogs and humans participated in the 6th Annual Hopland Sheepdog Trials at the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center. Forty-six border collies and their handlers from all over the state took their turns showing their skills as herding dogs. At the end of each day, winners were announced based on how well the border collies and their handlers maneuvered four sheep through the course.

Drought-tolerant garden dedicated at UC Extension Office
Jim Smith, Woodland Daily Democrat, Nov. 12, 2017
Morgan Doran, director of UC Cooperative Extension in Yolo County, dedicated drought-tolerant demonstration landscaping at the Woodland office last week. The landscape also controls flooding and offers better security. The garden was dedicated to UCCE advisor emeritus Kent Brittan, who died in March 2016.

New app gives real-time warnings of coyote sightings
Sharon Chen, Fox 5 San Diego, Nov. 8, 2017
Coyote Cacher, which was started by the University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, helps collect information on coyote encounters in California. Niamh Quinn, a UCCE human-wildlife interactions advior who helped develop the app, said this time of year is prime for coyote activity and sightings. “This is what's called dispersal season, it's when a juvenile leaves the den to begin a life of their own,” Quinn said.  “They'll look for other mates and other coyotes to link up with.”

Cal Fire Says It's Focusing on Fire Prevention; But Critics Say Current Efforts Leave State Vulnerable to More Mega Fires
Liz Wagner, Robert Campos, and Michael Horn, NBC Bay Area News, Nov. 7, 2017
UCCE forestry specialist Bill Steward said Cal Fire isn't equipped to coordinate aggressive fire prevention strategies. “I think Cal Fire at its core is basically a fire department,” Stewart said. “I do think fire mitigation is going to have to go up. That's just been considered kind of a sideline program at Cal Fire.”

Buying legal marijuana in California could be pricey enough to keep the black market healthy.
Aaron Smith, CNN Money, Oct. 31, 2017
Between customers, retailers and growers, taxes on cannabis may reach as high as 45 percent in parts of the state, according to a Fitch Ratings report. Those high taxes may keep consumers away from legal marijuana stores once the recreational retail market goes live on January 1. Black market farmers also face other obstacles to becoming compliant with state law. UC Cooperative Extension specialist Van Bustic, a specialist in the environmental impact of cannabis cultivation, said that registering with the state and becoming compliant will cost about $100,000. He said that many Humboldt farmers are unlikely to shoulder that cost if they can continue to operate in the dark.

Cooperative Extension is key to unlocking public engagement with science
Elise Gornish and Leslie Roche, Ecological Society of America, November 2017
U.S. land-grant mission and the Cooperative Extension system have initiated, developed, and implemented models of public engagement for the past 100 years. Cooperative Extension engages through trusted and established relationships, and collaboration and co-development of projects with the public.

Santa Rosa fire victims face tough decisions on rebuilding
Ellen Knickmeyer, Associated Press, Nov. 4, 2017
Families whose homes were reduced to white ash by the October wildfires in Northern California must decide whether to rebuild quickly as things were, rebuild defensively against future fires, or abandon their burned neighborhood entirely. Ultimately, “all of us as taxpayers are sort of picking up the bill in one way or the other” for wildfires, said Max Moritz, UC Cooperative Extension fire science specialist. If the public is subsidizing the costs, it should also have a say through regulations to determine where and how people can build, he said.

Understanding smoke taint
Lexi Williams, Wine Spectator, Nov. 3, 2017
Fortunately for Northern California's 2017 vintage, most of the grapes had been harvested by the time the fires broke out there. People were concerned that the smoke could affect the already-picked grapes in fermenters, but according to Anita Oberholster, an UCCE enology specialist, that's unlikely. "During fermentation these wines should have been protected due to a protective ‘blanket' of carbon dioxide released during fermentation," she told Wine Spectator via email. "However, even if some volatile phenols from the smoke [are] absorbed in the wine, we do not expect any glycosylation to take place. So the problem of non-volatile precursors will not exist."

What UCR and a Riverside firm are doing to stop invasive weevil from decapitating Southern California's iconic palm trees
David Downey, Riverside Press Enterprise, Nov. 3, 2017
UCCE entomology specialist Mark Hoddle is a principal player in the fight against the South American palm weevil. Hoddle and the Riverside biotech firm ISCA Technologies are teaming up to develop formulations from naturally occurring compounds to lure weevils to small but lethal doses of pesticide. Through this approach, less than one-hundredth of the volume of pesticide in traditional spray applications is used.

Why we still kill cougars
Ryan Sabalow and Phillip Reese, Sacramento Bee, Nov. 3, 2017
Californians voted to ban hunting of mountain lions back in 1990, but lions can still be killed with a depredation permit if they have attacked a domestic animal. Since Proposition 117 passed, an average of 98 mountain lions have been killed each year. When eight 4-H club goats were killed in a mountain lion attack last spring, the families chose not to acquire a depredation permit and instead made sure their livestock enclosures were secure against mountain lions.

Sponsored research funding aids UC Davis in taking on major challenges
Kriti Varghese, The Aggie, Nov. 2, 2017
UC Davis receives $760 million in funding, allowing faculty to tackle some of world's most pressing issues. Among the programs noted in this article is the UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program. “We're funded to provide nutrition education for obesity prevention to help transform  low-income communities and individuals, to improve access to healthy foods, to reduce food insecurity, to increase physical activity and to reduce obesity,” said David Ginsburg, the director of UC CalFresh.

State ag secretary speaks in Orland innovation conference next week
Chico Enterprise, Nov. 1, 2017
UC ANR researcher and UC Davis professor of biological and ag engineering David Slaughter will speak at the North State Innovations in Agriculture Conference at the Glenn County Fairgrounds. His topic is “The SmartFarm Initiative at UC Davis – a vision of the farm of the future.” California Ag Secretary Karen Ross is also on the agenda.

Napa County's natural, agricultural landscapes face wildfire recovery
Barry Eberling, Napa Valley Register, Nov. 2, 2017
UCCE advisors Monica Cooper and John Roncoroni organized the Napa Valley Vineyard Technical Group meeting in Napa for owners of private lands with the burn areas of the Atlas, Nuns and Tubbs wildfires of October 2017. “There are going to be days when you feel like you're making it up as you go along,” said Greg Giusti, a UC Cooperative Extension advisor emeritus. “You are. You haven't done this before.” Giusti talked about forest health and recovery strategies.

UC Riverside, biotech firm receive grant to combat palm tree pests, Nov. 2, 2018
The Washington, D.C.-based Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research awarded a  $150,000 grant was awarded today to UC Riverside and a Riverside-based biotech firm to bolster their work in developing pesticides capable of eradicating insects that are destroying palm trees in California and elsewhere. “This funding has arrived a critical time. We need to get ahead of the weevil invasion in San Diego and this support provides the boost we need,” said UCCE specialist Mark Hoddle, director of the  Center for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside.

State ag secretary speaks in Orland innovation conference next week
Chico Enterprise, Nov. 1, 2017
UC ANR researcher and UC Davis professor of biological and ag engineering David Slaughter will speak at the North State Innovations in Agriculture Conference at the Glenn County Fairgrounds. His topic is “The SmartFarm Initiative at UC Davis – a vision of the farm of the future.” California Ag Secretary Karen Ross is also on the agenda.

But first we're going to have to get less squeamish about bugs
Sophia Mendelson, New Food Economy, Oct. 31, 2017
The University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program defines IPM this way: “A process you can use to solve pest problems while minimizing risks to people and the environment. IPM can be used to manage all kinds of pests anywhere—in urban, agricultural, and wildland or natural areas.”


Posted on Friday, December 1, 2017 at 9:01 AM

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