WERA1017: Coordination of Integrated Pest Management Research and Extension/Educational Programs for the Western States and Pacific Basin Territories

(Multistate Research Coordinating Committee and Information Exchange Group)

Status: Active

WERA1017: Coordination of Integrated Pest Management Research and Extension/Educational Programs for the Western States and Pacific Basin Territories

Duration: 10/01/2021 to 09/30/2026

Administrative Advisor(s):

NIFA Reps:

Non-Technical Summary

Statement of Issues and Justification

The region represented by WERA1017 includes thirteen western states and the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands. Geographically, this spans from the desert southwest to the northern Rocky Mountains, up to Alaska, and west from Pacific Coast states more than 6,000 miles to Hawai’i, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. This vast region covers elevations from sea level to 20,000 ft., climates from desert to tropical, systems from densely urban to rural, and environments from uninhabited to the most popular tourist spots in the world. Accordingly, pest threats, priorities, emphasis areas, educational approaches, and dedicated Extension IPM program resources are incredibly diverse and require a coordinated approach.

The WERA1017 committee was formed more than two decades ago, and functions as a coordination and vision-setting body for research and Extension IPM programs in the West. Over the years, participants have collaborated on hundreds of multistate IPM activities. Recent examples include School and Community IPM (Gouge et al.. 2013), Urban and Small Farms, Pesticide Risk Reduction (Bordini et al. 2020, Jepson et al. 2020), Crop Pest Losses and Impact Assessment (Ellsworth et al. 2020, Murray et al. 2020a), High Plains IPM website, Pacific Northwest Pest Handbooks and other multistate guides (e.g., Intermountain Tree Fruit Production Guide [Murray et al. 2020]), invasive pest research, weather-driven pest models (Coop 2020), regional pest advisories, noxious weed research/management, regional webinars, and water quality projects. In addition, the committee has developed productive relationships with the Regional IPM Centers, National IPM Coordinating Committee, and program leaders and staff of USDA NIFA IPM, CDC, Indian Health Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Tribal Pesticide Program Council, HUD, and EPA, allowing for cohesive insights and information exchange.

A collaborative approach is increasingly important as fewer Extension and research scientists are available in individual states due to budget cuts, most recently from COVID-19 impacts, shrinking pest management resources, and the ever-increasing demand for IPM programming. Recent extreme weather events (record-breaking heat, droughts, a rare western derecho, Hawaiian tornadoes) and health-related events (COVID-19, mosquito-borne Dengue fever in Guam) are expected to compound pest issues in the coming years. Additional new invasive species in the west are of national concern (Asian giant hornet in WA) and expanding invasives (Aedes albopictus and Ae. aegypti in CA) continue to pose potential human health risk. Several new and urgent initiatives have already arisen (e.g., education and training on safe and effective use of disinfectants), resulting in new or expanding audiences and stakeholders for Western IPM programs, including forestry, schools, homeowners, municipalities, and community groups such as Tribal communities, remote, border, and/or underserved communities.

Despite the diversity in the western region, IPM programs address common themes. Emerging issues for agro- and urban-ecosystems include developing a better understanding of pesticide fate; understanding impacts of pest management practices on water quality, pollinator effects, and human health; and reducing impacts of ever-increasing introductions of invasive species and pest-vectored diseases on ecosystem stability and economic productivity. Western IPM programs are challenged to meet these increasing demands with a decreasing work force and narrow base of funding.

WERA1017 has dedicated its efforts to enhancing multistate research and Extension programming. Annually, the committee meets to identify expanded stakeholder groups and to share assessments that measure impacts and needs of IPM implementation, including positive impacts and shortfalls (APMC 2018, Elliot 2017, Elliot et al. 2015, Farrar et al. 2015, Farrar et al. 2018, Murray and Alston 2019, Naranjo et al. 2019, Palumbo 2019). This committee has a history of serving as a platform to identify common issues, initiate response efforts, and measure impacts through the lens of regional coordination. These initiatives are proposed to continue as part of the WERA1017 commitment into the next project cycle.

Recognizing the complexities of the challenge, IPM nationally is guided by a strategic plan developed by USDA NIFA IPM Program with input from many sources, including WERA1017. The National IPM Road Map (2018) has identified the analysis of health, environmental, and economic impacts of IPM as a key priority. Impacts require aggregation of data at state and regional levels in order to contribute to a national policy, but no resources have been allocated for this important task. WERA1017 will continue to address measurement of IPM impacts as a key part of its activities.

Related, Current, and Previous Work

The overarching goal of the WERA1017 committee is to enhance IPM adoption and impact within the western states and Pacific Basin Territories. The group’s efforts over the past four years highlight the value of a joint, comprehensive approach to address this goal and to serve as a forum for discussion and communication with broader regional and national entities.

In the last four years, the WERA1017 committee held meetings each year, in California (2017), Oregon (2018), and Washington (2019), and virtually hosted by Montana (2020), each with an attendance of at least 13 state IPM coordinators and additional colleagues. At each meeting, members discussed and learned about current IPM issues and reported on state and regional IPM activities. In addition, representatives from USDA-NIFA and the Western IPM Center provided updates on IPM grant announcements, the current Federal budget, and other programs such as the AFRI Education and Workforce Development and Sustainable Agriculture Systems programs, and the Tactical Science Initiative. Meetings in 2018, 2019, and 2020 included project director workshops where researchers funded by the Applied Research and Development Program and Extension Implementation Program (EIP) areas within the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program shared results with their peers.

The WERA1017 meetings and discussions have resulted in productive dialogues with government agencies through group-signed letters and conversations. Several members participate in the National IPM Coordinating Committee meeting each fall and provide input on state and regional needs. As a whole, WERA1017 communicated with USDA-NIFA IPM Program Leaders to highlight the importance of continued IPM efforts, recommended revisions to the IPM Roadmap, and to stress the value of the Regional IPM Centers. The committee has suggested that NIFA improve the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program-EIP call for proposals by emphasizing the importance of area-wide and systems-level programs, adding “diagnostics” and “invasive pests” as program areas, promoting collaborative research, supporting the development of common measures of impact reporting for EIP projects, and including the Federated States of Micronesia and American Samoa to the list of eligible states/territories for EIP funding. And finally, WERA1017 has been communicating with NRCS regarding the IPM Conservation Practice Standard (Code 595) in determining expectations and funds allocated to minor crops not covered by an existing document.

Outside of the annual meetings, WERA1017 participants actively discuss needs, priorities, and funding opportunities. In the last project cycle, the committee and its members have been instrumental in jump-starting several collaborative and ongoing outreach projects and initiatives to meet these needs, including 10 pest management strategic plans and five IPM Elements (California, Utah) that are all published in the national IPM database (Arizona 2020, O’Neal et al. 2017, Murray et al. 2020b, Murray et al. 2018 a, b, Murray et al. 2017 a, b, Sickle 2018, Walsh et al. 2017), IPM for Sensitive Sites in the Built Environment Workgroup (Gouge et al.. 2013), Pesticide Risk Reduction Workgroup (Jepson et al. 2020), Crop Pest Losses and Impact Assessment (Ellsworth et al. 2020, Murray et al. 2020a), and providing information to Regional IPM Network Coordinators, who respond to calls for public comments related to IPM on behalf of regional stakeholders. Some of these activities have become what are called Signature Programs within the Western IPM Center, receiving ongoing funding.

One project that has engaged most of the WERA1017 members, and has occurred in conjunction with our annual meetings, is the Western Pesticide Risk Management Workgroup, a signature program of the Western IPM Center. This project, originally funded through Western Sustainable Agriculture and Education (WSARE), engages western state IPM coordinators and practitioners in capacity development around pesticide risk reduction and risk communication. The project includes an annual meeting, which will continue to align with WERA1017 meetings, as well as monthly calls. Over the last several years, the workgroup has hosted several prominent guest speakers that have provided professional development on pesticide topics including glyphosate and chlorpyrifos. The group also contributed to the guideline supplement to a recent publication (Jepson et al. 2020). Through this group, a capacity development workshop on pesticide risk management and communication was delivered to the University of California IPM program staff (~35 participants). Many group members have reported improvements including increased confidence and new ideas for engaging audiences on topics related to pesticides and risk (WSARE final report, 2019)

Collaborative research projects addressing identified IPM needs have often arisen directly from the work of WERA1017 meetings and discussions. Over the last four years, members of the WERA1017 committee have participated in several topics tied directly to regional and national IPM priorities:
• Invasive pests: Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, and Utah collaborated on brown marmorated stink bugs; Washington, Oregon, Utah, and Idaho collaborate on spotted wing drosophila; California and Arizona are addressing brown stink bug issues; Guam and Pacific Islands are investigating invasive pests of Solanaceous crops; Guam and Hawaii have projects on coconut rhinoceros beetle; California, Arizona, and Hawaii research IPM for bagrada bug
• Specialty crops: Hawaii is investigating management of coffee berry borer and root-knot nematode in coffee; Washington, Oregon, and Utah are investigating the Western X phytoplasma of cherry; Alaska develops IPM protocols for fresh-cut peonies
• Pesticide resistance: Many states are conducting research to prevent resistance, including Hawaii (diamondback moth and melon fly), Arizona (whiteflies in cotton and vegetable crops, and mosquito arbovirus vectors), California, Oregon, and Washington (powdery mildew of wine grapes), and Utah and Colorado (weeds in agronomic crops)
• Biocontrol: New Mexico has confirmed the use of the leaf beetle, Diorhabda spp., for salt-cedar management; Idaho researches biological control organisms of invasive weeds in rangeland systems; Arizona researchers are evaluating a biological control agent of American cockroaches in sewer systems
• Agronomic crops: Washington, Idaho, and Montana have a strong research focus on IPM of pulse crops; most western states collaborate on issues with wheat (such as wheat stripe rust), and alfalfa (including pollinator protection)
• Urban and public health pests: Arizona, Wyoming, and other western states work in collaboration on several urban pests including bed bugs, scorpions, ticks, cockroaches, and mosquitoes

In addition to collaborative research efforts by the group and our collaborators, the WERA1017 sponsors sharing of information by USDA-NIFA ARDP recipients and many group members are funded by state Agricultural Experiment Stations, Hatch funds, and Hatch multistate research funds. As such, the collaborations established as part of this group have a broad impact across the entire region, often crossing regional and international borders. Many examples are described above.



  1. Increase participants’ skills, knowledge, and awareness of regional/national IPM issues, systems, and strategies.
  2. Serve as a platform and feedback body to promote Multi-State and transdisciplinary IPM research and Extension, and help connect outputs/outcomes with key user groups.
  3. Enhance collaboration, sharing of ideas, and creation of regional outputs such as Multi-State grants and shared outreach materials.
  4. Improve coordination of IPM research and outreach programs that address on-going, emerging, and other critical pest and related environmental issues.

Procedures and Activities

Efforts to meet objectives 1 – 4 will occur through an annual meeting as well as discussions throughout the year using the group’s mailing list and virtual discussions with sub-groups. Specifically, WERA1017 meetings and discussions will serve as a forum to coordinate and facilitate IPM research and extension in the western region, and to report on EIP and ARDP projects.

The annual WERA1017 meeting will rotate among participating states and territories. The meeting agenda will be designed to facilitate the exchange of ideas and discussion of common issues related to coordination of IPM research, extension, and outreach activities in the region, with the goal to plan and carry out activities to address the objectives of this proposal in a way that is responsive to urgent and emerging needs. As appropriate, the meeting agenda will address agency alliance-building, regional IPM grant-writing strategies and efforts, Pest Management Strategic Plan (PMSP) priorities, coordination of IPM education and impact measures, and development of needs and priorities to communicate with USDA-NIFA IPM Program Leaders.

The annual meeting time will be scheduled to discuss ideas for grant proposals to address regional IPM priorities and develop additional grant-related activities, such as outreach events. The Western IPM Center will provide input at the meeting on grant offerings, Signature Programs, programming needs, and more. In order to facilitate regional coordination of input to new PMSPs, members will be asked to contact relevant industry stakeholders to develop robust PMSP writing committees.

Meetings will also include a professional development component of tours and presentations that highlight the local and regional IPM issues, successes, and challenges of the meeting location. Local representatives will be invited to participate in IPM discussions.

Throughout the year, the committee will maintain discussions through the existing mailing list and will liaise with the Western IPM Center for feedback on activities and to provide input to the Center’s priorities, grants, and programs. These communication efforts will reduce redundancy and create efficient streams of information exchange and proactive future activities such as impact reports.

Expected Outcomes and Impacts

  • Increased awareness of the breadth and scope of each state’s IPM research extension programs (and related, such as Pesticide Safety and Education) beyond USDA-NIFA-supported activities
  • Coordinated IPM impact reports to be posted to Land-Grant Impacts website and shared regionally.
  • Enhanced research and outreach collaborations among WERA1017 participants that enhance adoption of IPM
  • Sharing of ideas, experience, methodologies, and materials that can be used or adapted to support IPM adoption in other states with reduced duplication of efforts.
  • Increased awareness and knowledge among participants about emerging pest problems and critical issues affecting stakeholders.
  • Increased success in leveraging funds in support of IPM research and programming.
  • Enhanced IPM knowledge and skills of participants through professional development at annual WERA1017 meetings.
  • Improved reporting of high-quality, quantitative programming impacts from all state extension IPM programs and enhanced multi-state documentation of joint impacts by identifying innovative, cost-effective assessment/evaluation approaches that can be shared among states .
  • Meaningful contributions to shaping USDA-NIFA policy through annual WERA1017 representation and informed contributions to discussions at the National IPM Coordinating Committee meeting.
  • Increased awareness among participants about the role of the Western IPM Center to enhance state and regional efforts to promote IPM adoption throughout the west, including: 1. facilitating new collaborations through its grants program, 2. facilitating information and expertise sharing, 3. supporting IPM research, outreach, and measurement of outcomes through its ongoing Signature Programs, 4. enhancing awareness of IPM projects, pest issues, tools, and resources in the west through its newsletters and other communications

Projected Participation

View Appendix E: Participation

Educational Plan

At each annual meeting, the committee will discuss, share and coordinate pest management issues, research needs, educational approaches and products, and novel applications within regional natural, agro- and urban systems. Program Leaders for USDA NIFA, Western IPM Center, regional grant programs, etc., will provide updates on national and regional IPM initiatives, directions, and trends. The annual meeting will provide a forum for state research and Extension liaisons to discuss issues, dilemmas, and successes. The annual report compiled from across the participating states will provide documentation of regional IPM deliverables and accomplishments during the past year.

WERA1017 will also conduct one IPM symposium, field tour or workshop in the region or in conjunction with the International IPM Symposium during the 5-year project cycle. This activity will expand participation beyond the group’s membership. It may address specific learning needs (e.g. use of weather-based decision support tools, use of new diagnostic techniques, or certified IPM school programs), or provide a professional development workshop for county extension personnel, and other IPM professionals. This activity will help foster interagency and regional linkages, dialogue, learning and information dissemination, with an emphasis on designing and implementing sustainable pest management systems. Stakeholder involvement will be strongly encouraged.


WERA1017 is primarily comprised of each state’s IPM Coordinator, and additional members are welcome. Officers include a Chair, Vice-Chair who records meeting minutes and maintains a current email list, and a Past-Chair. Election of a new vice-chair occurs at each annual meeting, and this new officer is installed immediately. It is the responsibility of the current chair to organize and host the year’s meeting. Because a primary objective of this committee is to foster interdisciplinary research and extension involving pest-related sciences, officers and members encourage the IPM Coordinators from each state to invite at least two professionals to attend the annual meetings as members (a mix of pest disciplines and AES and Extension appointment emphases are desirable).

Literature Cited

Arizona Pest Management Center (APMC). 2020. Crop Protection & Pest Management Program Saves Lives, Dollars and the Environment in Arizona. https://acis.cals.arizona.edu/docs/default-source/ipm-assessment-documents/azpm_impacts_vf.pdf?sfvrsn=4f88c02f_2 

Coop, L. 2020. Pest and Weather Models for IPM Decision Support. Oregon IPM Center, Oregon State University. https://agsci.oregonstate.edu/oipmc/pest-weather-models-ipm-decision-support 

Elliot, S. 2017. Spray Reductions in Cotton. Western IPM Center Newsletter http://westernipm.org/index.cfm/ipm-in-the-west/agriculture/spray-reductions-in-cotton/ 

Elliott, S., R. Hallberg, C. A. Koplinka-Loehr, and L. B. Vial. 2015. Retrospective of the Regional IPM Grants Program.  A joint report by the Regional Integrated Pest Management Centers, 7 pp. http://westernipm.org/index.cfm/about-the-center/publications/special-reports/national-ripm-retrospective-pdf/

Farrar, J.J., P.C. Ellsworth, R. Sisco, M.E. Baur, A. Crump, A.J. Fournier, M.K. Murray, P.C. Jepson, C.M. Tarutani, K.W. Dorschner. 2018. Assessing Compatibility of a Pesticide in an IPM Program. Journal of Integrated Pest Management, 9(1): 3. https://doi.org/10.1093/jipm/pmx032 

Farrar, J.J., M.E. Baur, S. Elliott. 2015. Adoption and Impacts of Integrated Pest Management in Agriculture in the Western United States. Western IPM Center, 66 pp.  http://westernipm.org/index.cfm/about-the-center/publications/special-reports/adoption-and-impact-of-ipm-in-western-agriculture/ 

Gouge, H, C. Foss, D. Young, A. Code, J. Connett, C. Rose, L. Brajkovich, R. Davis, T. Matsuda, A. Bamber, C. Hawley, T. Grasswitz, and A. O’Callaghan. 2013. Community IPM Western Region. Report for Western Region IPM Center. 6 pp. https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/17223751/report-of-community-ipm-programs-in-western-region-states 

Jepson, P., K. Murray, O. Bach, M. Bonilla, and L. Neumeister. 2019. Pesticide Risk Reduction: An International Guideline. Lancet Planet Health 3: e56-63. 

Murray, M. and D. Alston. 2019. IPM Use in Utah’s Tree Fruit Industry Since 1996. USU Extension Research Report. 10 pp. https://utahpests.usu.edu/ipm/ou-files/veg-fruit-resources/res17-fruit-industry-IPM.pdf 

Murray, M., H. Larsen, T. McCammon, and L. Kerzicnik. 2020. Intermountain Tree Fruit Production Guide. Utah State University Extension, Colorado State University Extension, University of Idaho Extension, and Montana State University Extension. 190 pp. https://intermountainfruit.org/IntermountainTFG-2020.pdf 

Naranjo, S.E., G.B. Frisvold, Peter C. Ellsworth. 2019, Economic Value of Arthropod Biological Control. Chapter 4, In, The Economics of Integrated Pest Management of Insects. Onstad, D. W. and P. R. Crain, eds. CABI, pp. 49–85. http://anbp.org/mm_uploads/Naranjo_et_al._IPMEconomicsBookChapter.pdf 

Palumbo, J. 2019.  Insect Losses and Management on Desert Lettuce: A 15-Year Summary. University of Arizona Veg IPM Update, Vol. 10, No.13, June 26, 2019. https://acis.cals.arizona.edu/docs/default-source/agricultural-ipm-documents/vegetable-ipm-updates/2019/190626-fifteen-year-lettuce-insect-losses-summary-2005-2019.pdf?sfvrsn=9cca5ae6_2 

USDA NIFA. 2018. National Road Map for Integrated Pest Management. USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. https://www.ars.usda.gov/arsuserfiles/opmp/ipm%20road%20map%20final.pdf.


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