Noxious Invasive Plants
The diverse regions of Nevada County allow niches for many invasive plant species to colonize. Noxious invasive plants are usually able to out-compete local native plant species for water and space because they are more prolific, have more vigorous growth, and lack predators that would otherwise help to keep them in check. They degrade habitat for other wildlife, domestic animals, recreation, and other land use activities. The agricultural industry is particularly affected by invasive plants; their control expense is ultimately passed on to the consumer. Invasive plants affect everyone, either directly or indirectly.
Pest Exclusion, Management and Prevention
The Nevada County Agricultural Commissioner's Office is actively involved in preventing invasive pests from becoming established in our agricultural lands and communities. The Agricultural Commissioner regulates the commercial and private transport of plants into and out of Nevada County. It is important that commercial operations and private citizens respect California's quarantine laws to prevent the introduction of exotic pests. In addition, pest and disease information is gathered on a monthly basis by way of insect trapping and environmental monitoring for pest presence and populations. Nevada County Department of Agriculture works in close cooperation with local production, wholesale, and retail nurseries to maintain the high standards required by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for California nursery stock.
The Agricultural Commissioner, in cooperation with CDFA and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), works to enforce federal, foreign and domestic plant pest quarantines, as well as California state quarantines, county restrictions, and ordinances. Pest exclusion is the cornerstone of pest prevention. In many instances, exclusion is the first, last, and only means to keep exotic pests from invading California and Nevada County.
Quarantine programs serve to facilitate safe trade, monitor the movement of risk material, protect against the introduction of pests, regulate the import and export of plants, and help exporters meet the entry requirements of other countries. In this mandated program, the Agricultural Commissioner and his staff monitor and inspect agricultural commodities for planting or for consumption through County Quarantine Inspections, Quarantine Response, and Phytosanitary Certification.
Pest detection is the second line of defense against exotic pests becoming established. Regulatory actions or eradication projects may be conducted on incipient infestations. Due to the constant movement of people, products, and commercial shipments into the State of California, the risk for new insect pests to become established is very high. Early detection of these pests is vitally important before they spread to urban or agricultural land. These pests, once established, can cause much destruction especially in commodities such as fruits and vegetables rendering them inedible. As a result, food prices can rise and farmers may have to use more pesticides to maintain food quality. The Nevada County Agriculture Commissioner's Office along with the California Department of Food and Agriculture place hundreds of insect traps throughout the entire county to aid in the early detection and control of these pests. When feasible, the department works towards the long-term biological control of newly introduced pests.