WCTA Executive Director Report - Summer 2018

At the time of writing (early June), it seems a little early for a comprehensive summer report so perhaps consider this a late spring segue into the next few months and beyond.  

56th Annual Conference and Trade Show Announcement – Feb 20-22, 2019

On April 13th, we announced the 56th Annual Conference and Trade Show will take place once again at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, BC, Feb 20-22, 2019. 
“It was an easy decision to return to the River Rock in 2019,” stated WCTA President Peter Sorokovsky.  “It was pretty much preordained by all those who stayed to the end when we asked them if we should come back next year.  The answer was an overwhelming yes!”
Preliminary planning is underway and while we will be releasing much more information in the coming months, go ahead and mark your calendars now!

Health Canada PMRA Announces Chlorothalonil Final Decision

By now you’ve likely heard that Health Canada has released its final decision regarding the active ingredient chlorothalonil, a commonly used fungicide in Canada for fine turf and a variety of agriculture and ornamental crops.
The re-evaluation process did cause some stress for the golf industry with a proposed 22 day re-entry interval and a reduction in the number of applications permitted.
Contrary to initial reports, there are turf uses remaining on the label. 
   o for turf snow molds, a single application per year will be permitted, containing up to 12 kg a.i./ha or 120 grams per 100 square meters (or about 4 ounces per thousand square feet of active ingredient).
   o for turf diseases during other seasons, there will be up to two permitted applications at a minimum 14 day interval, with up to 9.5 kg a.i./ha or 95 grams per 100 square meters per application on golf courses.
   o for sod farms, there are also two permitted applications, but at 7 day intervals with up to 4.8 kg a.i./ha or 48 grams per 100 square meters.
Re-entry into treated sites can occur when the sprays have dried. 
Companies have 24 months to change their labels on products containing chlorothalonil to reflect these requirements. 
The 87 page decision document is still under review by WCTA staff.  If you have questions, please email exec.director@wctaturf.com.
As for iprodione, although a final decision was expected by end March, we’re still waiting to hear anything from the PMRA.  A final re-evaluation decision for the neonicotinoid, Imidacloprid, is expected in December of 2018.

Outreach and Advocacy

A $10,000 contribution was made this spring to the Allied Golf Association of BC by the WCTA.  The WCTA Board understands the golf industry faces many issues and has left the final decision on how best to use the money up to the AGA-BC Board of Directors.  Some of the funds helped support AGA-BC’s visit to the provincial capital May 28 to raise golf industry awareness within government.  Two WCTA representatives were part of the AGA-BC contingent.
Along with other AGA-BC member organizations, we are continuing to work with Metro-Vancouver to develop a water management plan template for golf courses.  This templated plan will enable golf courses to bypass the so-called ‘arbitrary watering restrictions’, for example, watering only green and tees, in favour of an approach where golf courses manage their irrigation consumption based on a conservation target.  The WCTA is also working with Metro-Vancouver to develop a similar template for sportsfields and both templates should be easily transferable to all other municipalities looking at water restrictions.  Let us know if you are dealing with increasing local water restrictions.
The Japanese beetle incursion into Vancouver may seem like a distant problem for most turf managers in the province but it could become a very big deal in the coming years if something isn’t done now.  To quote the BC Ministry of Agriculture’s Economic Risk Assessment released just a few weeks ago, “The golf course sector may have the most to lose if Japanese beetle becomes established in the province.”  The WCTA is heavily involved as a stakeholder since this particular beetle is very problematic for all turf sectors, especially short mowed and irrigated, and it’s a notorious hitch-hiker.  The Invasive Species Council of BC is spearheading control efforts with multiple partners involved including the City of Vancouver, BCLNA, BC Ministry of Agriculture and others.  Meanwhile, we’re currently working to determine the potential economic impact of this pest to the BC golf and sportsturf industry.

Member Programming and Events

We’re excited to be putting on a First Green talk at the BCGSA Exchange Tournament on August 20th at Two Eagles this summer with program coordinator, Stan Kazymerchyk.  The First Green program is designed to teach grade school kids about STEM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) using a golf course or sportsfield as a learning lab and hosted by the course superintendent or sportsturf manager.  The WCTA is the only Canadian First Green licensee currently but we’re hopeful the program catches on across Canada.
Many WCTA field days took place at UBC in days gone by and we’re happy to be heading back on Thursday, June 13th to the Vancouver Whitecaps National Soccer Development Centre.  Hosted by Gary Bartley, participants will sit in on a talk by Dr. Eric Lyons of the Guelph Turfgrass Institute and tour of the impressive Whitecaps FC training centre.
Soon to be officially announced, the WCTA and STC will once again partner on a major production this summer.  Alternating between BC and Alberta, our annual sportsturf field day rotation will take us to Edmonton for the very first time on August 23rd, hosted by Leanne Nadwidny and City of Edmonton Parks staff.  Much more information will be released by middle of June but go ahead and mark your calendars now.

Turf Research and Education

2018 project funding has been announced with $4,000 earmarked for our annual Canadian Turf Research Foundation contribution and $15,000 approved for the Guelph Turfgrass Institute’s new ‘Environmental Turfgrass Outreach Project’.   The latter is a unique effort in Canada aimed at educating public stakeholders and the various end users of turfgrass facilities about the benefits of turf.
The WCTA’s management contract with the Canadian Turf Research Foundation is now into its second year.  Several months over the summer of 2016 were spent developing and executing a contract to provide the services and by April 2017 the transition was pretty much completed.  Much of that first year was spent getting organized and adapting our systems to manage this nationally registered charity.  One of our first major successes was recently welcoming the Northwest Turfgrass Association, the first non-Canadian funding partner, to the group.

Understanding it’s an incredibly busy time of year for everyone, I’ll conclude by wishing everyone a successful season and look forward to crossing paths and talking turf with as many WCTA members as possible this season!

Go to www.wcta-online.com for more news, information and updates.

Respectfully submitted,
Jerry Rousseau, WCTA Executive Director
(604) 869-WCTA (9282)