WCTA Status Report for BCGSA Chapters
prepared by Jerry Rousseau
Thank you for the opportunity to present a report. Spring is taking various forms around the province but it certainly has been off to a slow start no matter where you are. For WCTA staff, March/April is more like season end as we wrap-up after our single largest event, the annual conference and trade show, and begin preparing for summer meetings and functions.
Annual Conference and Trade Show – Thanks for your tremendous support!
- The 55th Annual Conference and Trade Show took place at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond Feb 14-16 and was our highest attended show in the past 5 years with 362 actual turf management personnel participating and 563 delegates in total. Aside from a few comments about the show being held over Valentine’s, feedback has been outstanding from all angles. The venue itself was a big hit as was the education program, networking events, trade show and overall experience.
- We have just announced the WCTA is going to double down, returning to the River Rock in 2019 and to avoid Valentine’s, dates will be Feb 20, 21, 22. Preliminary planning is underway and while we will be releasing much more information in the coming months, go ahead and mark your calendars now!
Turf Research and Education
- 2018 project funding has been announced with $4,000 earmarked for our annual Canadian Turf Research Foundation contribution and $15,000 approved for the Guelph Turfgrass Institute’s new ‘Environmental Turfgrass Outreach Project’. The latter is a unique effort in Canada aimed at educating public stakeholders and the various end users of turfgrass facilities about the benefits of turf.
- IPM Manual Update – Environmental Advocacy Committee Chair, Keith Lyall has received data files from the contractor, Mario Lanthier, and has started his review. We expect the finished product will be available online by end May.
- If you hadn’t heard, the WCTA was awarded the Canadian Turf Research Foundation administrative contract early in 2016. It took several months to develop and execute a contract to provide the services and by December 2016, transition from the previous administrator, the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association, had begun albeit slowly because of the timing. We now have a full year under our belt and are beginning to look at the future of turf research funding in Canada. In the meantime, we would like to welcome the Northwest Turfgrass Association, the first non-Canadian funding partner, to the group.
Outreach and Advocacy
- Along with other AGA-BC member organizations such as the BCGSA, we are continuing to work with Metro-Vancouver to develop a water management plan template for golf courses. This templated plan will enable golf courses to bypass the so-called ‘arbitrary watering restrictions’, for example, watering only green and tees, in favour of an approach where golf courses manage their irrigation consumption based on a conservation target. The WCTA is also now working with Metro-Vancouver to develop a similar template for sportsfields and both templates will be easily transferable to all other municipalities looking at water restrictions. Let us know if you are dealing with increasing local water restrictions.
- Japanese beetle may seem like a distant problem for most golf courses in the province but it’s likely to be a very big deal in the coming years if something isn’t done now. To quote the BC Ministry of Agriculture’s Economic Risk Assessment released just a few weeks ago, “The golf course sector may have the most to lose if Japanese beetle becomes established in the province.” The WCTA is heavily involved as a stakeholder since this particular beetle is very problematic for all turf sectors, especially short mowed and irrigated and it’s a notorious hitch-hiker.
- A $10,000 contribution was recently made to the Allied Golf Association of BC by the WCTA. The WCTA Board understands the golf industry faces many issues and has left the final decision on how best to use the funds up to the AGA-BC Board of Directors.
Member Programming - First Green
- WCTA has been asked to put on a First Green talk at the BCGSA Exchange Tournament at Two Eagles this summer. The First Green program is designed to teach grade school kids about STEM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) using a golf course as a learning lab and hosted by the course superintendent. The WCTA is the only Canadian First Green licensee currently but we’re hopeful the program catches on across Canada.
Health Canada PMRA
- Chlorothalonil and Iprodione re-evaluation
Health Canada presented a stakeholder webinar early in 2017 aimed at providing an update on the health risk assessment for chlorothalonil after considering the information received in response to public consultation.
Former Prairie Turfgrass Research Center Executive Director Jim Ross participated on the WCTA’s behalf and made the following brief report.
With regards to the chlorothalonil webinar, it seems like usage will be restricted to two applications a year plus one for snow mould prevention. Worker exposure levels are calculated based on the toxicological information. Chloro was determined to be quite high and short term dermal exposures (less than 21 days per year) would be all that is allowed. I would assume that this means that there would be minimal exposure concerns after 10 days, although I did not fully understand this and they said that there would be some supplementary information forthcoming.
As for iprodione, there has been no further update from Health Canada but in the case of both active ingredients, we were expecting re-evaluation decisions by March 2018, which has obviously passed, but we know there will be no label changes in the interim.
Many courses are using this insecticide for control of European chafer, Japanese beetle, Black Turfgrass Ataenuis and European crane fly larvae on turf. A multi-stakeholder workshop took place in Ottawa on Dec 21, to discuss the impacts of PMRA's decision to phase out most uses of imidacloprid. Information from a loosely conducted poll by the WCTA of approximately 50 turf managers, was provided to the Canada Nursery Landscape Association for a presentation at this meeting and the WCTA has made a submission to Health Canada regarding the importance of this active ingredient to its members. No further updates have been provided.
There is quite a bit more I could say but I’ll end by thanking everyone for making our River Rock conference a tremendous success. All the best for an equally successful golf season!
Go to www.wcta-online.com for more news, information and updates.
Jerry Rousseau, WCTA Executive Director
(604) 869-WCTA (9282)