Applications for environmentally-friendly European grapevine moth control options will be accepted through June 23

NORTH BAY -- U.S. Agriculture Department's Natural Resources Conservation Service today said it has set aside $1 million to help farmers in seven California counties, including four in the North Bay, pay for environmentally friendly options control the spread of the European grapevine moth, which can destroy winegrape crops.

Funding through the federal Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or EQIP, would compensate eligible farmers in Fresno, Mendocino, Merced, Monterey, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties for about half the cost of using integrated pest management, or IPM, methods. These strategies were developed and approved for use over the past five years by the conservation service and the U.C. Cooperative Extension Service.

Highest priority will be given to grape growers with vineyards within 400 meters of a confirmed moth trapping in all quarantined counties except Napa, according to the conservation service. Tens of thousands of moths have been found in Napa County this year in locations stretching from Calistoga to the Carneros winegrowing region in the southern area.

Second priority will be given to treat vineyards between 400 and 1,000 meters of a confirmed trapping in the six counties.

In early May the Agriculture Department announced $1 million in contingency funds were released by its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS, to prevent the spread of the moth.

The first discovery of the moth in the U.S. was in Napa County in September 2009. Since then, the moth has been trapped in seven counties.

As a third priority, pheromone mating disruption will be available to eligible grape growers in Napa County, where officials are overseeing treatment of the moth within county borders.

Applications for funding will be taken at NRCS offices in the affected counties, starting today.

European grapevine moth information on the Internet