SYMPOSIUM ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF STRATEGIC PROGRAMS FOR MONITORING ECOLOGICAL IMPACT FROM PLANT-INCORPORATED PROTECTANTS (PIPS)

BACKGROUND/PURPOSE

Historically, monitoring programs in association with field releases of crops with plant incorporated protectants (PIPs) have been, explicitly or implicitly, called for as a part of risk assessment/management schemes or regulatory agenda. However, it is often not clear what should be monitored, why, or for how long. Recommendations of objectives and methodologies were made with little understanding of their scientific legitimacy. Monitoring for the development of insect resistance to pesticides-identified as early as 1991-provides the single best example of science based monitoring program development. This is, however, only one of many potential ecological concerns associated with PIP crops, and often the decision as to what to monitor for has depended as much on what was possible to monitor as it has on the identified concern.

While wide-ranging, non-specified monitoring programs to detect new or unique effects of genetic engineering are being suggested (e.g., changes in non-target insect populations), such monitoring may be quite expensive and inefficient. Even if a previously unknown problem were discovered, surely most open-ended studies of this nature will find nothing at great expense. It will be most helpful to decision makers and those who will be charged with the design and implementation of monitoring programs to know explicitly what should be monitored, the reason behind the concern(s) that generated the need for monitoring, appropriate methods for conducting the monitoring, and finally the purpose for the data to be collected. Well-done risk assessments, along with providing the argument for establishing appropriate levels of monitoring, will also address these four categories of information needs.

At this symposium, science experts will discuss the state of the science in environmental monitoring efforts and particularly those related to determination of ecological impact from PIP crop plants. The goal is to determine effective strategies for identifying the key risks of concern and appropriate risk management technologies to mitigate these key risks when the monitoring studies indicate unintended adverse consequences. By focusing on the agroecosystem condition, it may be possible to ameliorate the spatio-temporal problems associated with monitoring large scale planting of PIP crop plants and the natural variability inherent in identifying and tracking ecosystem change. The point is to determine what in-field condition(s) might prove to be indicative of change (as an early warning indicator) or evidence of an ecological impact, e.g., decreasing insect populations. At a minimum, the conference scope will include discussion of:

1. Monitoring principles/objectives for transgenic plants with strengths and limitations.

2. Monitoring studies to date including rationale, objectives, design, conclusions and lessons learned.

3. Criteria for selection and use of indicator species.

4. Use of statistical analyses for developing strategic monitoring plan.

DATES: The symposium will be held Tuesday, August 3, 2004 through Thursday, August 5, 2004, running from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

ADDRESSES: The symposium will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Crystal City, 1800 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA 22202; telephone 703-769-3946.

A limited number of rooms will be available at the Sheraton Hotel through July 3, 2004, for the special meeting rate of $150 per night. The meeting location is within walking distance of the Crystal City Metro Stop on the Blue and Yellow Lines. EPA supports the goals of green conferencing and strongly encourages participants at this meeting to recycle, reduce the use of paper products and bulk mailings, and use mass transit. More about green conferencing can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/greenmeetings/.

TN & Associates, an EPA contractor, is organizing, convening, and conducting the symposium. To attend the symposium, please preregister by July 30, 2004. You may register by e-mail by contacting Holly Stoddard at hstoddard@tnainc.com or by calling (678) 355-5550 x0. On site registration will be accepted on a space available basis.


DATES: The symposium will be held Tuesday, August 3, 2004 through Thursday, August 5, 2004, running from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

ADDRESSES: The symposium will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Crystal City, 1800 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA 22202; telephone 703-769-3946. A limited number of rooms will be available at the Sheraton Hotel through July 3, 2004, for the special meeting rate of $150 per night. The meeting location is within walking distance of the Crystal City Metro Stop on the Blue and Yellow Lines. EPA supports the goals of green conferencing and strongly encourages participants at this meeting to recycle, reduce the use of paper products and bulk mailings, and use mass transit. More about green conferencing can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/greenmeetings/.

TN & Associates, an EPA contractor, is organizing, convening, and conducting the symposium. To attend the symposium, please preregister by July 30, 2004. You may register on line by contacting Holly Stoddard at hstoddard@tnainc.com or by calling (678) 355-5550 x0. On site registration will be accepted on a space available basis.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For symposium information, registration, and logistics, contact Holly Stoddard

TN & Associates, Inc.

678-355-5550

fax 678-355-5545

hstoddard@tnainc.com

For further information, the EPA contact is Dr. Robert Frederick,

telephone: (202) 564-3207; e-mail: frederick.bob@epa.gov