Executive Director Update - April 2017
prepared by Jerry Rousseau
Industry advocacy has been a prominent topic of conversation amongst most golf industry associations for some time with efforts escalating over the past 6-8 weeks or so since the Suzuki program ‘Dad and the Dandelions’ was aired by CBC.
On February 17th (the last day of our conference), the WCTA broke news that the March 2nd broadcast of CBC’s THE NATURE OF THINGS, focused on golf course use of pesticides. According to the media preview, “there now exists a groundbreaking revelation uncovering the deceptively deadly nature of the golf course and the role of pesticides in maintaining its lethal beauty.”
The morning after the broadcast, the National Allied Golf Association, lead by the NGCOA, released a ‘FAQ Document For Golf’ intended to support golf industry personnel if/when fielding questions and concerns from media, golfers, the public, etc, regarding the use of pesticides on golf courses in Canada.
Immediately after the NAGA document’s release, we were in touch with Jeff Calderwood at the NGCOA to express concerns that their piece seemed to be put together hastily, included inaccuracies about how pesticide product registrations are funded, it unnecessarily compared golf course pesticide use to agriculture and generally could have been written much better. We’ve been told the messaging was an interim measure and that a long term version, developed without the time pressures, is appropriate.
We know the Suzuki program was sensational with very weak and anecdotal correlations portraying golf courses as ‘toxic waste sites’, and while some think the issue will go away, the WCTA Board feels this type of scrutiny will continue to be recycled by special interest groups, media and potentially local governments and has undertaken its own response which included a feedback campaign seeking input from members and contacts.
The WCTA draft response in support of its members can be found at the following link:
After many hours of work, we’re closing in on a final document however the fact-checking is proving to be more difficult and time consuming than first thought. For example, we can’t say “In Canada, approximately 94% of all pesticides are used in agriculture, home and garden use constitutes approximately 5% of the total and golf courses use about 1-2%,” without properly verifying and including sources for these statements.
With any luck, the final document will be released by April 20th. If there are any further comments, questions or general feedback on this subject, please get in touch with me immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chlorothalonil and Iprodione re-evaluation
Health Canada presented a stakeholder webinar on March 31 aimed at providing an update on the health risk assessment for chlorothalonil after considering the information received in response to REV2016-06.
Former Prairie Turfgrass Research Center Executive Director Jim Ross participated on our behalf and made the following brief report. Jim is also in charge of fact-checking our Suzuki response so you know.
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 know re-evaluation decisions won’t happen until at least March 2018 and there will be no label changes in the interim.
This insectice is used in the turf management industry 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.
The WCTA has made a submission to Health Canada regarding the importance of this active ingredient to its members but has received no further updates.
IPM Manual Update
A report was recently submitted to AGA-BC by Environmental Advocacy Committee Chair and can be found at the following link:
Canadian Turf Research Foundation
Work to transition the CTRF administration from the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association is well underway with major improvements to the system being implemented as we change-over. The WCTA should be holding the reigns by end of May.
There is quite a bit more to report but I’ll end by thanking everyone for their support of our Penticton Conference and Trade Show. A lot of people have asked if the event was successful, yes, yes it was. Two shows in BC this year were challenging, three if you count the VIGSA MS event, but we hit our numbers and everyone from both the delegate and exhibitor side of things were very happy. I look forward to seeing you all at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond February 14-16, 2018 for our 55th Annual event (still tentative at this point, should have an announcement out by early May).
Go to www.wctaturf.com for updates on the following:
Turf Manager’s Guide to new IPM Regulations
Vancouver’s Water Shortage Response Plan Changes
Canadian Turf Research Foundation Awards Services Contract to WCTA