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Washoe County Programs

Integrated Pest Management

Nevada Department of Agriculture’s records show the use of traditional pesticides continues to increase in the state. Nevada’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program helps agricultural producers, land managers; pest control operators, homeowners and other pest managers learn about and use alternative pest management strategies in a variety of environments and settings.


The Western Area’s Horticultural Needs Assessment targeted IPM as a top educational programming need. Nevada Department of Agriculture’s records show the use of traditional pesticides continues to increase in the state. Just one threat is excessive Mormon cricket invasions (a $6-million allocation for their management). Increased urban sprawl into native lands and heavy pest pressures in drought-stressed agricultural crops such as timothy hay all require improved pest management systems that are less dependent upon traditional pesticides. Also, production and marketing of organic products increases the alternatives to the traditional use of pesticides.

Meanwhile, weeds are one of the most serious threats to Nevada rangelands and lawns. Noxious weeds have already invaded thousands of acres of Nevada’s ands and waterways. They threaten water quality, wildlife habitat, recreational activities and the economic stability of ranchers, farmers and other land managers.

What Has Been Done:

Nevada’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program helps agricultural producers, land managers; pest control operators, homeowners and other pest managers learn about and use alternative pest management strategies in a variety of environments and settings. Nevada efforts target the national IPM program’s four objectives: 1) to safeguard human health and the environment, 2) to increase the range of benefits achieved by those who use IPM methods, 3) to increase the supply and dissemination of IPM knowledge, and 4) to enhance collaborations among stakeholders.

In Nevada, the IPM program addresses rural and urban issues on several scales and with a broad range of clientele. Programming strategies and activities are addressing identified needs, which include, but are not limited to, 1) integrated invasive weed management in all environments across Nevada, including the development and strengthening of Cooperative Weed Management Areas (CWMAs), 2) educating and training pest control operators to use IPM in their pest management work, particularly in urban settings, 3) educating homeowners to use adapted, environmentally friendly landscaping principles and practices and to use IPM to reduce the use of pesticides and improve their immediate environment, 4) increased integrated pest management for hay crops and 5) initial and continued training of Master Gardeners, Weed Warriors and other volunteers in science-based IPM strategies and, when necessary, the use of biorational and least toxic pesticides.

To Safeguard Human Health and the Environment: Cooperative Extension teaches pest ID, pest mapping, pest monitoring, and cooperative management among public agencies and private entities using IPM techniques, watershed IPM management, and reduced pesticide reliance. The following techniques are used: inspection and quarantine of invasive species in products shipped into Nevada; mowing, fire, cultivation; modifying cultural practices; predators, biologicals, grazing; and soft and traditional chemicals.

To Increase the range of benefits achieved through IPM Technologies or Strategies: Cooperative Extension is working with agencies and private land managers in mapping invasive weeds as part of their commitment to and participation in Cooperative Weed Management Areas (CWMAs). Cooperative Extension trains volunteers, who are participating in Weed Warrior training, helping neighborhoods and local organizations understand the impacts of invasive species, cooperating in weed pulls (Reno, Spring Creek, Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas), promoting integrated weed management (IWM) and providing public awareness of the invasive species issues.

To increase the dissemination of IPM Knowledge: A broad public education campaign aimed at the residents of the Truckee Meadows was conducted with a newspaper insert on weeds; a one-hour High Desert Forum radio feature on KUNR public radio; design and content for a weed group website ( was completed; messages from the hotline transcribed by Weed Warrior volunteers; three versions of bus tail panels displayed on 10 Regional Transportation Commission busses for four months and two, 2- hour volunteer weed "Dig-It" events.

Nevada Weed Management Association held a successful conference with support from University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, the IPM program, Nevada Department of Agriculture, other state and federal agencies and private individuals. Presentations, panel discussions and private strategizing included plant identification, the economics of invasive weeds and their management, cooperatively managing watersheds and basins for invasive weeds, Integrated Weed Management (IWM), and discussion of issues relating to management of cooperative weed management areas.

Hundreds of Weed Warriors, Woad Warriors, and other volunteers have been trained by UNCE personnel in how to spot, control and eradicate noxious weeds.


There are more than 30 coordinated weed associations and other groups in Nevada, according to the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s weed coordinator. These are formed among private entities, state agencies (conservation districts, parks, etc.) and federal agencies (BLM, FS, FWS, PS, etc.) usually with memoranda of understanding and work agreements.

UNCE faculty plays an active role in many of these groups, serving as catalysts, educators and grant consultants. The goal is to achieve long-term sustainability of the weed control efforts.

The number of active weed control districts has gone from three to six with three additional groups now forming with the help of Cooperative Extension. Within the past three years, the Tri-county Weed Management District was formed, mapped and successfully continues to treat and reduce the presence of noxious and invasive weeds in Lincoln, Nye and White Pine counties and on private and public lands.

Examples of volunteer group impacts include:

The Tahoe Weed Group mapped and treated a total of 282.9 acres in the Tahoe Basin, making significant progress in controlling invasive weed species and measuring a 20 percent decrease in total weed infestations from 2004 to 2005.

The Truckee Meadows Weed Group hired four seasonal staff to complete 12 weeks of weed mapping and control in 2005. Seasonal staff surveyed 12,454 acres and mapped 3,342 weed sites. Weed controls were implemented on 5,196 acres.

The Truckee Meadows education campaign was successful. The website was accessed 863 times by late-December 2005 and 27 Web-based weed reports were made by residents, in addition to 14 calls to the hotline. Transit advertising data estimates 6,032,400 gross impressions.

Master Gardeners continued to receive IPM training and disseminate IPM information to the public. In 2005, Nevada’s 600 Master Gardeners handled nearly 21,000 telephone calls, answered emails and gave presentations to thousands more Nevadans.

A research trial was conducted to determine the effectiveness of Christmas tree mulch from the annual recycling program as a control method for tall Whitetop. In spring 2005, plots were established to study the use of varying depths of Christmas tree mulch in controlling the tall Whitetop. Results from the mulch study were variable, but average canopy cover decreased with increasing mulch depth, and average number of stems also decreased with increasing mulch depth.

Cooperative Extension continues to work with the Nevada Hay Growers Association continues to provide a collective voice and leadership in hay growing issues, including IPM used in producing high quality grass hay for export.


USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Nevada Arid Rangeland Initiative


Programs Program Information

4-H Afterschool

All children face risks as they grow and develop, but children who live in low-income housing or are homeless may be at higher risk for participating in risky behaviors. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) developed the 4-H After School Club (ASC) to teach children basic life skills including math, reading, science, positive communication, goal setting, self-responsibility, decision-making and good nutrition. Youth who have these life skills are less likely to participate in risky behaviors.

Calming the Waters: Learning to Manage Western Water Conflict

Conflict has surrounded the Truckee, Carson and Walker River Basins for decades. Key issues include historical use on tribal lands, historical and current water rights, threats to water quality, and wildlife habitat protection. This program teaches youth about Nevada’s water issues and helps them develop the skills needed to address future water conflicts.

Commercial Landscape Horticulture

Thistles prepared for the “Noxious Weeds and Weed Law” green industry class

Engaged Leadership Program

Washoe County, Nevada, needed advanced training and skill building for the county’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) members to help them to participate effectively in local government issues that impact their communities. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension developed and implemented an Engaged Leadership program to assist chairpersons and CAB members in their efforts to create and sustain effective boards.

Family Storyteller Literacy Program

National award-winning Family Storyteller is a literacy program aimed at encouraging and training parents to play a vital role in the literacy development of their children. Developed by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), KNPB-TV, the Washoe County libraries and Washoe County School District, the statewide program creates an opportunity for parents and young children to interact around literacy and language activities. Family Storyteller is designed especially for families that may have limited language skills and few children’s books at home.

Fun To Play

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Fun To Play program targets families where, due to the young age, inexperience or limited resources of the parents, young children are placed at-risk for developmental delays and later school difficulties. Fun To Play is a series of weekly infant/child sessions aimed at improving the parenting skills of young parents by increasing the amount of learning activities and interaction they provide their children.

Green Industry Training Programs of Northern Nevada

Green Industry Training (GIT) and Green Industry Continuing Education Series (GICES) are cost- and time-efficient approaches to serving the Green Industries of northern Nevada, including nursery workers, landscapers, arborists, irrigation and lawn care professionals. The Green Industry Training program begins in late winter with eight three-hour sessions of entry-level training for new industry workers, for those desiring to work in the industry and for existing industry professionals desiring a skills "tune-up." After "basic training," industry members are invited to monthly continuing education opportunities — one hour per month over the noon hour — to hone and improve their skills.

Grow Your Own, Nevada

 A tray of vegetables

Grow Yourself Healthy

Integrated Pest Management

Nevada Department of Agriculture’s records show the use of traditional pesticides continues to increase in the state. Nevada’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program helps agricultural producers, land managers; pest control operators, homeowners and other pest managers learn about and use alternative pest management strategies in a variety of environments and settings.

Little Books and Little Cooks

Children scooping soil from a wheelbarrow into a carton

Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages


Living With Fire

Be Ember Aware publication

Master Gardeners in Nevada

 A bumblebee pollinating a yellow flower

NEMO Nevada, Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials

The NEMO (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials) program was originated in Connecticut and has spread nationwide. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offers the NEMO program in Washoe County. The premise is that improvements in land-use planning can result in protection of water resources, which can negate the need to fix problems after the fact by applying best management practices. The program will help land-use decision-makers understand the nature of the nonpoint source pollution problem and its impact on their lives, towns and natural resource base. This enables them to plan for growth and development while addressing water quality issues through educated land use decisions.

Noxious Weed Control and Awareness Education

Noxious and invasive weeds are widespread throughout Nevada. They threaten agricultural and rangeland productivity. Rural counties are susceptible to significant adverse economic damage. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension education programs help individuals and weed control organization reduce the abundance of noxious weeds.

Pick a better snack™ (formerly Chefs for Kids)

This evidence-based campaign focuses on building fruit and vegetable consumption in children through healthy snacking. Pick a better snack™ is a monthly, in-school nutrition education program for primary grade children in at-risk elementary schools in Clark and Washoe counties in Nevada. In addition to direct instruction, staff works with school wellness coordinators to build meaningful and sustainable programming to create a well environment in every school.

Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL)

Man conducting irrigation water audit

Small Steps 4 Big Changes

Parent involvement is recognized as a key factor in making wise food selections and shaping food and health behavior attitudes that affect the child’s habits and food preferences. Conducted in partnership with the 4-H Youth Development Program, a series of ten nutrition lessons incorporate recipe preparation, food sampling and physical activity segments, with additional nutrition education content for the parent or adult caregiver. All lesson segments are focused on thriving within a limited budget, as well as increasing fruit and vegetable intake. This program has been successfully offered to five Reno Housing Authority (RHA) and other 4-H After School Program sites since the initial launch of the pilot program. The program fosters behavior changes identified by the Centers for Disease Control as being linked to childhood obesity prevention.

Team Nutrition “Smart Choices”

This program strives to address the public health issue of childhood obesity through building basic skills related to food selection and promoting an increased variety of nutritious foods consumed especially vegetables and fruits.

Water Wise

Water Wise is a new, online educational program that complements University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s local watershed protection, storm water protection and land-use decision-maker education projects (NEMO-Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials).

Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training

The Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training Program is held several times a year, usually in late winter or spring. This eight-hour, two-day introductory-level training introduces participants to the principles of Integrated Weed Management and focuses on improving ability to identify noxious weeds of local importance. A small fee is charged for program materials, and the class can be videoconferenced to other locations upon request. Each year, several dozen people go through the training and become certified Weed Warriors. Pesticide applicators receive six Continuing Education Credits for attending this course. Each year in May during a community event in the Truckee Meadows, Weed Warrior volunteers help rid parks and riverfront areas of invasive thistles.

Statewide Programs *Statewide programs may not be available in all counties

Programs Program Information
4-H Youth Development
Cattlemen’s Update
Food Safety Project
Herds and Harvest
Integrated Riparian Management/Creeks and Communities
Invasive Species (Weeds)
Nevada Radon Education Program
Nevada State GEAR UP
Nevada Youth Range Camp
People of the Land
Pesticide Safety Education Program
Risk Management
Stronger Economies Together
Weed Prevention and Management
Youth for the Quality Care of Animals