Public Comment Sought On New Quarantine Rules to Control Grape Pests
OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is proposing to update quarantine rules involving the movement of all grape planting stock into or within Washington to further protect the state’s thriving grape industry from harmful pests and disease.
The changes to the rule, found in WAC 16-483 Grape pest quarantine, are meant to strengthen Washington’s wine and juice industry by reducing the chances a quarantine pest will be imported into the state on infested grape planting stock. The changes are also intended to reduce the spread of quarantine pests from infested grape planting sites to non-infested sites within the state.
Additionally, these amendments will harmonize Washington’s rules with rules in Oregon and Idaho to make it easier for Washington planting stock growers to ship their stock out of state.
Washington is the second largest producer of grapes in the United States, with more than 79,000 acres of grapevines growing across the state. Washington’s grape industry has earned a reputation for producing high quality grapes that make premier wines and juices. Much of this success is due to superior growing conditions and the absence of some of the major grape pests that plague other grape growing regions.
In 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) funded a grant, managed by the Washington Wine Industry Foundation, to work with the grape industry in developing a streamlined approach to grapevine virus certification, quarantines, and regulatory programs across multiple states.
After a pest list was agreed upon by the Pacific Northwest states, the Washington Winegrowers Association petitioned WSDA to update the state’s grape pest quarantine rules. Some of the key changes include:
- Requiring other states to certify on a phytosanitary certificate that grapevines shipped to Washington are free of any of the newly added pests.
- Requiring a pest management plan be implemented before moving any equipment or grape planting stock from a vineyard or nursery growing site within Washington if a quarantined pest has been detected at that site.
- Requiring all equipment used for the cultivation or harvesting of grapes and vines within Washington be thoroughly washed or steam cleaned before it is moved out of an infested site.
The public hearings for the rule change will take place via teleconference on Jan. 5, 2021. Go to agr.wa.gov and visit the Grape Pest Quarantine webpage for more information on the proposed rule change and how to participate in the hearing.