Report to Legislature Shows Value of Fast Action by Governor Davis
SACRAMENTO – In an ongoing battle to combat the glassy-winged sharpshooter and Pierce’s disease, Governor Davis today delivered encouraging news in a report to the Legislature.
“My administration is dedicated to annihilating this pest which has attempted to wreak havoc on one of California’s most important industries,” Governor Davis said. “We are waging a war against the glassy-winged sharpshooter. A war we will win for the future of California’s wine and grape industries.”
The report, prepared by the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Pierce’s Disease Program, points out that the glassy-winged sharpshooter is not widespread in Northern California. A pilot project in Kern County—undertaken in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)—is demonstrating effective methods of combating the pest in large and agriculturally diverse areas.
“We have come a long way in a short time, thanks to the leadership of Governor Davis,” said CDFA Secretary William (Bill) J. Lyons, Jr. “We’re learning important lessons that will help us stop the spread of the glassy-winged sharpshooter while researchers work to find the real solution to this problem, a cure for Pierce’s disease.”
Two-and-a-half years ago, Governor Gray Davis moved quickly to begin the fight against the glassy-winged sharpshooter and Pierce’s disease. Governor Davis dedicated more than $50 million to the fight. Governor Davis also created the first Pierce’s Disease Control Program and appointed Robert L. Wynn, Jr. as the statewide coordinator for the program.
The glassy-winged sharpshooter is an exotic pest that spreads the bacteria that causes Pierce’s disease, which can be fatal to grapevines. The bacteria causes similar diseases fatal to almond trees and oleanders, among other plants.
Disease outbreaks have caused millions of dollars in damage to vineyards in Riverside County and spread widely enough in Kern County to trigger the pilot project there. Other infested counties are Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Diego and San Bernardino. There are isolated infestations in Santa Barbara, Tulare and Imperial Counties, and there have been successful treatment programs for localized infestations in Sacramento, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Butte Counties.
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A major technique to stop the spread has been the inspection of more than 100,000 nursery shipments from infested counties. Almost all of those shipments, 99.7 percent, were free from the glassy-winged sharpshooter.
More than 60 research projects are now underway, including increased production of tiny, stingless wasps, natural enemies of the glassy-winged sharpshooter that are utilized in a biological control program. Many of the projects are the result of a partnership between government and private industry.
For additional information on the glassy-winged sharpshooter and Pierce’s disease, and a copy of the report to the legislature, please visit www.cdfa.ca.gov/gwss.
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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814