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TCDC Wins Award


Last updated 10/30/2019 at 2:38pm

The Tubb Canyon Desert Conservancy (TCDC) is this year’s recipient of the California Invasive Plant Council’s (Cal-IPC) Policy Award. This award is presented “for exceptional contributions to invasive the protection of California ecosystems.”

The presentation was made during Cal-IPC’s annual meeting, held this year at the Riverside Convention Center. Doug Johnson, Executive Director of Cal-IPC, said TCDC was selected as the recipient of the Policy Award because of TCDC’s program to combat the spread of Sahara mustard in the deserts of California and the American Southwest.

“TCDC’s effort is an exceptional program that has successfully combined cutting-edge science with focused policy advocacy on the federal level,” Johnson said.

In 2014, TCDC launched a multiyear, three-phase program to find a safe and effective biocontrol agent capable of addressing the invasion of Sahara mustard in the United States. Using the latest DNA sequencing techniques, and in partnership with the University of California, Irvine and the USDA’s European Biologic Control Laboratory (EBCL) in Montpellier, France, TCDC’s program has identified the precise locations around the Mediterranean Sea where the specific populations of Sahara mustard that have invaded the United States originated.

In 2019, building upon the success of the first phases of the program, TCDC coordinated the support of stakeholders from across the southwestern United States who are also confronting the threat of Sahara mustard. These stakeholders – State and National Parks, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and governmental agencies – wrote letters and contacted their congressional representatives to request that the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) complete TCDC’s biocontrol program as part of its 2020 – 2025 Action Plan (Borrego Sun, August 8, 2019).

On August 19, 2019, in a letter to ten members of the United States House of Representatives, the director of ARS confirmed her agency would complete the scientific studies as requested (Borrego Sun, September 19, 2019).

Accepting the 2019 Policy Award, TCDC President J. David Garmon, M.D. expressed his appreciation for the individuals and organizations who have supported this effort to combat Sahara mustard: “They say it takes a village to raise a child. I would add that it also takes a village, or two, to impact policy decisions at the federal level. Without the support of generous donors like Audrey Steele Burnand and the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund, brilliant scientists at UCI and the EBCL, and engaged members of Congress like Susan Davis, we would never have come this far in combatting one of the most dire threats to desert ecosystems in the American Southwest.”

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