The County Agricultural Commissioner is charged with the responsibility of managing nuisance pests of agriculture and of human health. A cooperative agreement by the County and the USDA provides for one Animal Damage Control Specialist for non-domestic pest management in Butte County. Among the many vertebrate pests controlled the most common are skunks, opossums, raccoons and beavers complaints, but many coyotes, bear and mountain lion complaints are responded to each year by the ADC Specialist.
The Agricultural Commissioner’s department also works with CDFA and USDA to develop the use of effective biological controls for use on troublesome pests of agriculture. Seven (7) different biological control organisms have been released throughout the county to help in the control of such bothersome pests such as: Puncture vine, Yellow Starthistle, Ash Whitefly, Purple Loosestrife, Klamath Weed and Italian Thistle.
Butte County is involved with a proactive program to primarily detect insect pests before they become established. Traps are monitored throughout the entire county for the presence of any exotic pests of agriculture, such as Mediterranean Fruitfly, Oriental Fruitfly, Melon Fruitfly, Gypsy Moth, Brown Apple Moth, Japanese Beetle, Khapra Beetle, etc. These insect pests have an enormous host range and are difficult and costly to eradicate once they become established. Through early detection this program is protecting more than agriculture. The environment is protected by limiting the need for more pesticide applications. The quality of produce is higher when exotic pests are detected early and prevented from becoming established as common pests. Consumers are protected from rising food costs as production expenses are less.
The Pest exclusion program provides protection to the county by regulatory control through the use of quarantines to prevent the introduction of pests, which are not known to exist or are of very limited distribution within the county. Last year over 9,800 inspections were conducted at various locations in the county checking incoming plant material for cleanliness. Many harvested crops are exported to foreign countries. Phytosanitary certificates are issued declaring the commodity shipments meet the pest-free requirements of these other countries. Seed fields are inspected during the growing season to maintain a high standard of cleanliness for export.
Weed species under eradication include Spotted Knapweed, Dyer’s Woad, Skeleton Weed, and Japanese Dodder and are all very serious weed pests if left uncontrolled. Biological, chemical and mechanical methods are utilized to eliminate the most serious of these weed pests. Several other weed species are under constant surveillance to keep them under control and prevent their spreading.
West Nile Virus (WNV)
The Agriculture Department works in cooperation with the Butte County West Nile Virus Task Force and the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District in addressing local issues regarding the monitoring and control of WNV. More information on WNV in California can be found at www.westnile.ca.gov or by calling the toll-free line, 1-877-968-2473.
Phytophthora ramorum is the causal agent for Sudden Oak Death. This pathogen is responsible for the loss of thousands of tanoaks and native oak along the U.S. West Coast. To prevent the spread into Butte County, suspect host and associated host plants are inspected and tested for the pathogen.
Butte County is a Non-Infested but, Regulated County. The Compliance Agreement in Butte County allows host and associated host plants intrastate and interstate shipments. Each shipment must include a federal certificate or a stamp. This certificate is issued on an annual basis and an annual survey is required.
California Oak Mortality Task Force
CDFA Statewide Sudden Oak Death Quarantine