Two predator-focused news items from the Washington State Department of Agriculture hit the Western Farmer-Stockman email inbox recently. The first involves an application for wolf-livestock management nearing its deadline. The second concerns the state’s continuing effort to monitor for a tree-killing pest.
Grants for wolf management
WSDA is accepting applications for Northeast Washington Wolf-Livestock Management grants. The grants aim to reduce livestock depredation in four counties: Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille.
Applications are open to nonprofit, community-based organizations. The groups must have advisory boards with personnel from relevant agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service or state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The grant program started in 2017. The grants are meant to support community-based efforts for using nonlethal methods of deterring wolves from livestock. This year, the state Legislature provided $352,000 to continue the program for the 2020-22 biennium.
The Northeast Washington Wolf-Livestock Management grant application is available on the WSDA website and must be submitted by July 1.
Setting traps for a different kind of pest
Another predator in Washington doesn’t attack cattle, but it can take out a fair share of trees. The gypsy moth remains a menace in the state. WSDA completed the 2019 gypsy moth eradication treatment early in June, and the next step is to hunt for that pest and several others across the state.
Traps are now being set throughout the state to monitor for the introduction or spread of a variety of invasive pests, including gypsy moth, apple maggot and Japanese beetle.
Trappers will place about 24,000 gypsy moth traps throughout the state this summer. The effort includes intensive trapping in areas that WSDA officials treated for gypsy moth in May and June, including Kitsap, King and Snohomish counties. The aim is to be sure that eradication worked in those areas.
The gypsy moth poses significant risk not only to agriculture in the state, but also threatens the state’s forests, parks and cityscapes. How devastating is the pest? In Massachusetts in 2018, the state lost a quarter of all its hardwood trees, according to WSDA —including three of every four oak trees.
The moth can reproduce rapidly, with each female laying 1,000 eggs or more. This makes early detection a priority.
In addition to gypsy moth traps, the state will also set thousands of apple maggot traps. The traps, placed in eastern Washington, aim to monitor for the maggot, which represents a major risk to the state’s apple industry. A majority of the state’s apple region remains free of the pest — a condition the state wants to maintain with its trapping and monitoring program.
WSDA is also continuing heightened Japanese beetle trapping, as Oregon is attempting to eradicate an outbreak near Portland of this pest that feeds on more than 300 plants. Traps will be set this year, with an emphasis on the Vancouver, Wash., area and near airports.
To monitor these and other pests, trappers place grids of traps throughout the state at various densities. Residents are asked leave any insect traps they encounter undisturbed and report fallen traps to 1-800-443-6684. Visit agr.wa.gov for more information about WSDA’s pest trapping and monitoring program.