Current Projects


These projects were funded by the Western IPM Center's 2022 grants. 

For more details about a project, or to find one not listed here, see the Recent Projects page or use the search function on the IPM Projects Interagency Database


Project Initiation


Use of Whole Genome Sequencing in Disease Diagnostic Laboratories Can Enhance Risk Mitigation

Project Director: Melodie Putnam, Oregon State University Plant Clinic

Center Priority Areas: New Technologies to Manage Pests; Soil-Borne Pest Management

Project Summary: Global movement of plant materials has dramatically increased risks of introducing and spreading plant diseases, which is exacerbated by cryptic species of pathogens that are morphologically identical to known pathogens yet are epidemiologically important. Our long-term goal is building a network of disease diagnostic clinics that use whole genome sequencing to transform the rate, scale and manner in which production-limiting microbes and pests are managed. Our short-term goal is to help key laboratories within the National Plant Diagnostic Network implement use of this technology. This project develops a public archive of genomic data of significant bacterial pathogens while extracting actionable information from the genomes to mitigate disease risk for stakeholders.  Specifically, we will solicit samples of problematic bacterial diseases from growers throughout the Western Region for isolation and whole genome sequencing; develop high-quality bacterial pathogen genomes to be archived in local and public databases; characterize genome sequences and mine for information relevant to tracking of specific genotypes, monitoring novel pathogen lineage development. We will use insights gained to develop better management practices.


Enhancing Biological Control of Puncturevine in the Western United States

Project Director: Kristen Bowers, New Mexico State University

Center Priority Areas: Biological Control of Pests; Invasive Species

Project Summary: This project seeks to enhance the biological control of puncturevine, a Western region-wide invasive weed. Currently, puncturevine biological control is limited by the availability of puncturevine weevils, and improved establishment of puncturevine biological control agents Microlarinus lareynii and Microlarinus lypriformis across a wider geographic region would improve biological control of puncturevine. The three goals of this project are to delineate the current field distribution of the puncturevine weevils, to compare the current cold hardiness limits of the Microlarinus weevil populations, and finally to determine the potential phenotypic plasticity of Microlarinus weevils in the West.  We will use field surveys to establish the current northern limit of Microlarinus weevils. During this regional survey, we will also collect weevils from across the climatic gradient of puncturevine populations. Using these field-collected weevils, we will establish the cold tolerance threshold in laboratory experiments and test overwintering survival in field trials at three different latitudes from Colorado to southern New Mexico.


Optimizing Survey and Identification Methods for Anguina Species in Oregon Grasses Grown for Seed

Project Director: Hannah Rivedal, USDA-ARS

Center Priority Area: Soil-Borne Pest Management

Project Summary: Anguina nematodes are critically important agricultural pests that can lead to significant export rejections for the Oregon grass seed industry. In 2019 and 2020, over 490,000 kilograms of seed were rejected at Asian ports due to the presence of these nematodes. In addition, Anguina nematodes can vector Rathayibacter species that cause animal toxicity when grazed. Survey and testing methods at proper timing throughout the growing season need to be determined to protect growers. This project seeks to better understand the Anguina spp. lifecycle to improve survey and identification methods for the nematode vectors in this disease system. To meet this goal, we will utilize the following objectives: 1) Evaluate survey timing (spring or fall) and collection (soil, seed, tillers) for the most accurate detection of A. funesta and other Anguina spp. associated with annual ryegrass, bentgrass, and orchardgrass grown for seed in Oregon. 2) Develop a video-based nematode identification tutorial to build capacity among other diagnosticians and laboratories and extend training on survey methods to grower stakeholders at meetings and field days. 


Outreach and Implementation

EcoRestore: Creating an Online Portal of State-Specific IPM Information for Arizona and Utah

Project Director: Elise Gornish, University of Arizona

Center Priority Areas: IPM and Ecosystem Services; Invasive Species

Project Summary: This project will expand an existing and widely-used web based tool, EcoRestore, to include invasive species management support for decision makers in both Arizona and Utah. Students at both the University of Arizona and Utah State University will gather information relevant to invasive species management for both states and compile them together on the EcoRestore portal. We will expand EcoRestore into two separate online portals, one targeted to Arizona stakeholders and one to Utah. By providing comprehensive and regionally-specific weed management information, decision makers will be able to easily access the best available science relevant to managing their natural and working lands. The EcoRestore portals will also allow stakeholders to cultivate networks and share information across the Southwest. Invasive species management is a pressing concern across the southwest, the work presented here will provide outreach tools to meet that need in Arizona and Utah, and eventually the larger Southwest region.


Management of the Invasive Aedes aegypti Mosquito in Moab, Utah through an Integrated Pest Management Approach Highlighting Educational Campaigns and Citizen Science Involvement

Project Director: Michele Rehbein, Moab Mosquito Abatement District

Center Priority Area: Invasive Species

Project Summary: The Aedes aegypti mosquito is capable of transmitting Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever viruses. This project will address the introduction of the invasive mosquito in Moab, Utah through educational outreach and citizen-science involvement using integrated pest management efforts spearheaded by the Moab Mosquito Abatement District.

This project will increase public awareness and education on mosquitoes and prevention through surveillance and source reduction of containers and standing water. It will also  include citizen-science involvement to engage, empower and educate the community to better understand mosquitoes and IPM practices. Additionally, this project will create an internship opportunity for a student from a local college campus or involved with the local multicultural center. Grand County High School students will also be involved through collaboration with Science Moab’s School to Science program that will offer a mentorship initiative with the Moab Mosquito Abatement District.


Analysis of Distribution, Expansion and Management of Invasive Knotweed Over Two Decades on an Unregulated River

Project Director: Jill Silver, 10,000 Years Institute

Center Priority Areas: IPM Culture and Capacity; IPM and Ecosystem Services; Invasive Species

Project Summary: This project will analyze a comprehensive 20-year monitoring and treatment dataset for invasive knotweed along the Hoh River in western Washington. Survey and treatment records for knotweed have been collected and systematically maintained since an eradication program was initiated by the Hoh Tribe in 2002, four years after the initial detection of knotweed in the river. Because the timing and point of introduction of knotweed is precisely known, and the dataset encompasses information on treatment as well as georeferenced survey data, it represents a unique opportunity for an environmental analysis and synthesis of best practices for researchers and managers working on invasive knotweed and other invasive riparian plants. Results will be shared through multiple channels to ensure broad reach to researchers, land and natural resource managers, invasive species managers, and private landowners, including publications, at conferences and through a half-day workshop. 


Seed Project for Increasing Tribal Knowledge in Food Safety and IPM

Project Director: Lucy Li, University of Arizona

Center Priority Areas: IPM Culture and Capacity; IPM for Indigenous, Insular and Isolated People; IPM in New Places

Project Summary: This project will connect IPM with food safety, promote IPM in tribal communities, enhance the acceptance of IPM, strengthen networks and develop new scientists. Food safety is effectively integrated pest management as it relates to societal requirements for safe food production, processing and preparation. We will collaborate with stakeholder groups in at least three tribal nations to identify education needs related to food safety including human health and hygiene and water quality, IPM and other public health issues. We will work with tribal environmental health professionals and expert collaborators to implement education to build capacity and improve conditions. We will focus on training and providing materials to tribal educators and agencies who can enhance the credibility and sustainability of our efforts. We will also provide opportunities to mentor tribal students in the University of Arizona SaferFoodCats program. 


Spreading Information not Invasive Species: Transforming a State List into a Dynamic Web-Based Regional Information Hub

Project Director: Troy Abercrombie, Oregon Invasive Species Council

Center Priority Areas: IPM Culture and Capacity; Invasive Species; IPM in Changing Landscapes

Project Summary: Invasive species are a consistent challenge for natural resource managers and landowners. Managers tackle the environmental, economic and cultural challenges of invasive species in different ways and at different scales to address their specific mission priorities. Unfortunately, this can result in fragmented information streams and siloed knowledge bases. This project will strategically build out an online information resource, the Northwest Invasive Species Digital Information Hub, to support both big-picture planning decisions and day-to-day management activities. Collaborators will engage natural resource managers and researchers in Oregon, Washington and area Tribal Nations on topics of climate change, impacts on First Foods, and IPM lessons learned for some 40 species or pathways of interest. Supporting case studies and summary reports will be published online with a ‘how-to’ guide for using and informing future iterations of the digital information hub.


Residual Toxicity of Insecticides to Bees and Correspondence to Information on Pesticide Labels

Project Director:  Andony Melathopoulos, Oregon State University

Center Priority Areas: IPM and Ecosystem Services

Project Summary: Residual toxicity statements on pesticide labels are informed by tests where treated foliage is harvested at specified intervals of weathering to determine whether honey bee contact with this foliage results in mortality. The information is important to determine whether toxic products sprayed at dusk would dissipate by the following morning. Residual toxicity is estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in terms of RT25, or the weathering time needed for honey bee mortality to decline below 25%. Although RT25 values are prominent on pesticide labels, EPA has expressed concerns around the variability of these estimates. This project will analyze the sources of variability in RT25 for over 130 pesticide active ingredients to generate RT25 estimates for these pesticides as well as estimates of variability. The culmination of this work will be to revise the estimates of RT25 listed in the Extension publication “How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Pesticides” (PNW-591), as well as slides outlining how to use residual toxicity in pesticide training. The project will provide feedback to EPA and state regulators on labels that inaccurately convey residual toxicity.    


Work Groups

Expanding Continuity and Capacity in Invasive Plant Risk Assessments across Western States

Project Director: Doug Johnson, California Invasive Plant Council

Center Priority Area: Invasive Species

Project Summary: This project involves collaboration among five states and the Yurok tribal nation. Key stakeholder groups are land managers needing advance notice of potential new invasive plants and nurseries needing guidance to avoid introducing risky plants through horticulture. The Plant Risk Evaluator (PRE) tool is an online assessment tool designed by researchers at UC Davis and University of Washington to predict the risk of plants becoming invasive in a given region. This project will expand and strengthen adoption of the PRE tool across Western states by: (1) Working with Washington, Oregon, and Arizona partners to evaluate five more species per state; (2) adding new partners Nevada and the Yurok Tribe of the Klamath River region of California, training them on PRE, and supporting evaluation of five species for each; (3) continuing quarterly collaboration meetings for all partners to share information; and (4) maintaining the PRE web tool and preparing to move it to a newer web content management system.


Klamath Alliance for Regional Invasive Species Management

Project Director: Tanya Chapple, Mid Klamath Watershed Council

Center Priority Areas: IPM and Ecosystem Services; IPM for Indigenous, Insular and Isolated People; Invasive Species

Project Summary: This project will maintain capacity of the Klamath Alliance for Regional Invasive Species Management. The Alliance includes: the Mid Klamath Watershed Council, Salmon River Restoration Council, Six Rivers National Forest, Klamath National Forest, Karuk Tribe, Yurok Tribe, Hoopa Tribe, California Department of Transportation, Siskiyou Resource Conservation District, Quartz Valley Indian Reservation, Scott River Watershed Council, and the Cultural Fire Management Council. The work group addresses invasive species concerns crossing political boundaries of Humboldt and Siskiyou counties, national forests, and the ancestral territories of the Karuk, Yurok, Hoopa, and Shasta Tribes. The Mid Klamath region warrants its own invasive species management area due to considerations unique to the Klamath Mountains such as remote location, rugged terrain, tribal sovereignty and committed community opposition to herbicide use. The work group will continue to build partnerships and work towards our common goal to conserve native plant species and communities through the management of invasive species in the Klamath Region of California.