(VENTURA COUNTY, Calif) – As part of an integrated pest management program, the Boy Scouts of Ventura adventured into the field, armed with handcrafted owl boxes. They were joined by VCPWA Watershed Protection District Director, Karl Novak and Linda Parks, Supervisor of Ventura County, to install the boxes needed to attract the necessary wildlife to eradicate the use of harmful poisons formally used to control rodent damage. 

The Raptor Pilot Study for Levee Protection is the first to quantify the impact of raptors on ground squirrel damage at a levee. The program has garnered a lot of positive accolades including:

·         OWL Award presented by the Earth Island Institute

·         Earth Day Award presented by Ventura County Board of Supervisors

·         Environmental Stewardship Award  presented by the State of California

·         Environmental Project of the Year presented by the American Public Works Association, Ventura County Chapter

The Ventura County Public Works Agency (VCPWA) has demonstrated that hawks and owls can be more effective than poisons for controlling rodent damage. Earlier this month, VCWPA presented data from its Raptor Study for Levee Protection on using hawks and owls to control rodents, showing that raptor-friendly habitats reduce ground squirrel burrowing damage by 50 percent when compared to using anticoagulant rodenticides. The VCPWA study marks the first time any agency has quantified the impact of birds of prey on rodents in public works projects.