Salt Lake City School District Earns Nation's Top Honor for IPM

Since 2005, the Salt Lake City School District has been implementing Integrated Pest Management (IPM), drastically reducing both pest problems and pesticide use. Last month, the district passed a rigorous 37-point inspection of its program, earning IPM STAR certification from the non-profit IPM Institute of North America, and gaining recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.

IPM is a proven, commonsense approach to solving pest problems. IPM works by correcting conditions that encourage pests, such as improving sanitation to deny pests food, and sealing cracks and crevices to prevent pest access to shelter. Since the IPM program started, the district has cut mouse complaints by 90 percent through simple strategies like door sweeps, which close the gap between the bottom of exterior doors and door sills. The district reduced the number of pesticide applications by 90 percent.

Carrie Foss, urban IPM coordinator at Washington State University, performed the recent evaluation. Foss reports that since its initial assessment three years ago, the district “really put their program into high gear including developing a IPM plan so that successful strategies can be passed along in writing when key staff move on to other positions.” The district also formed an IPM committee and eliminated all spray applications for indoor pests.

Under the direction of Gregg Smith, director of facility services, and with initial assistance from Dr. Marc Lame of Indiana University, Jaslyn Dobrahner of US EPA Region 8 and others, the district’s IPM program has become a model for others in the region — setting an example of what’s possible, and providing assistance and advice on request. The district initiated a Utah School IPM Coalition and regularly presents their IPM “story” at regional and national conferences. For more information about the district’s success, see https://aal.slcschools.org/ipest.

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