The Newsom administration is proposing to create a reference library for California insects based on DNA barcodes. The CDFA program would tag new and existing specimens from the Central Valley and other agricultural regions with unique barcodes.
While adding a new catalogue of data on these insects, the program would also support the governor’s biodiversity goals, particularly his 30x30 executive order to conserve 30% of the state’s land and coastal waters by 2030.
“This will help us better understand what's in our ecosystems, how it's moving,” explained CDFA Secretary Karen Ross during a budget subcommittee hearing on the proposal last week. “And I believe it can help us identify invasive pests earlier, but also track how our pollinators are moving and where their declines are.”
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Ross noted that it would work in coordination with the California Pollinator Coalition, a new public-private partnership promoting on-farm conservation practices.
“It will also make this rich database of genetic material available for academia and for farmers and ranchers,” she said. “We have some of the best entomologists—not only in the nation. We have some world-renowned experts at our at our plant diagnostics lab.”
The proposal has the support of the Natural Resources Defense Council and California Certified Organic Farmers. The budget request is for $12 million from the state’s taxpayer fund.
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