District History

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The 1950’s

1952 The Southeast Mosquito Abatement District was formed through a citizen petition aimed at controlling mosquitoes emanating from the Los Angeles River, affecting the proximate cities of Maywood, Bell, Huntington Park and portions of Los Angeles County totaling approximately 150 square miles.

1955 A new permanent headquarters was built in the city of South Gate. District Entomologist Gardner C. McFarland was promoted to the position of District Manager. He was the first Manager to ever serve the District.

The 1960’s

1965 Fourteen additional cities joined the District including most of Los Angeles City and its area referred to as the San Fernando Valley.

1968 To best serve the Valley, both economically and efficiently, the District established branch operational facilities in North Hollywood.

The 1970’s

1975 District Entomologist Frank W. Pelsue was promoted to District Manager after the untimely death of the founding Manager Gardner C. McFarland.

1978 Proposition 13 dismantled the District’s sole funding mechanism--ad valorem property taxes. As a result, 20% of District staff was laid off.

The 1980’s

1983 An unprecedented outbreak of mosquito-transmitted St. Louis encephalitis infected 26 people (17 within the District) with two fatalities.

1985 Insect growth regulators, growth inhibitors, and biorational products gradually replaced organophosphate insecticides dominant in use during the 1970’s.

1986 A District-wide flat rate per parcel service charge restored funding to pre-Proposition 13 levels and the District was able to resume normal operational activities.

The 1990’s

1990 The Public Information and Education Program, now called the Community Affairs Department, was considered for implementation and partially staffed.

1994 The District changed its name from Southeast Mosquito Abatement District to the present moniker. District Entomologist Dr. Jack Hazelrigg was promoted to District Manager.

1997 A new District headquarters was built in Santa Fe Springs, replacing the South Gate facility.

1998 A blackfly assessment zone to control black flies along a special 26-mile corridor of the Los Angeles River was established, and a proactive midge program focused on preventing midge nuisance associated with water reclamation, water regeneration, and flood control improvement sources was implemented. The Africanized honey bee removal program began following bee colonization in Los Angeles County. The District’s in-school education program was implemented and staffed.

The 2000’s

2001 The Asian tiger mosquito, an imported exotic species of mosquito, was discovered in a shipment of lucky bamboo. GLACVCD was the first agency to take responsive action.

The Greater Los Angeles Mosquito and Vector Control Public Health and Educational Foundation, a newly formed 501 (C)(3) tax-exempt organization based in Santa Fe Springs, CA, was founded in March 2001 to further advance GLACVCD’s current elementary program with a Mobile Science Education Program.

2002 The District discontinued its Africanized honeybee removal service. The control and removal of Africanized honeybees (AHB) continued until July 1, 2002. Currently, the District provides informational materials on AHB. With the discontinuance of the AHB program, staff was reduced from 47 regular and limited full-time personnel to 45 employees.

The implementation of the Underground Storm Drain Program was incorporated into operations to avert the spread of West Nile virus. The northern branch office opened in Sylmar, replacing the North Hollywood Branch facility.

2003 West Nile virus was detected in the District on October 3, 2003. The District began a collaborative research program with the University of California, Davis to investigate the urban disease ecology of WNV.

2004 West Nile virus made its presence known in 2004, particularly in Southern California. Statewide there were 830 human cases (28 deaths), 540 horse cases (230 deaths) and 3,232 dead birds reported to the California Department of Public Health. California's human case rate was 3/100,000 which was low compared to other states. GLACVCD's statistics totaled 179 human infections with 7 deaths. There were 9 horses and 610 wild bird fatalities as well. The District expended an additional $500,000 on resources, labor, and community outreach. This unprecedented effort (including the "Wipe Out West Nile Virus" public relations campaign), protected and saved countless lives.

2005 West Nile virus transmission continued throughout the state and the District. Statewide statistics indicated 926 human cases and 18 deaths. GLACVCD reported 22 human cases and no deaths. The District also implemented the use of ArcView database and mapping system to assist with mosquito surveillance and control activities. Los Angeles City passed an ordinance allowing for the swift remediation of standing water. The District continued the "Wipe Out West Nile Virus" public relations campaign.

2006 West Nile virus transmission continued throughout the state; however, the District saw a sharp reduction in the number of positives in the mosquito and avian population. Statewide statistics confirmed 272 human cases and 6 fatalities. Within the District, 7 human cases were reported with no fatalities. The District also continued the “Wipe Out West Nile virus” public relations campaign. Longtime District Manager Dr. Jack Hazelrigg retired after 31 years of service with GLACVCD and was replaced by interim manager Randy E. Narramore. At the end of the year, new permanent manager Joseph F. Sanzone was hired.

2007 California experienced a resurgence of West Nile virus activity this year, with 380 human cases reported including 16 fatalities. Within the District, 32 human cases were reported leading to 3 fatalities. These fatalities were the first in the District since 2004. In August, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency for the three counties in Central California hardest hit by the virus. The Governor made approximately $10 million in emergency WNV funds available to mosquito control agencies throughout the State. GLACVCD increased control, surveillance, and public education efforts with grants received from the State.

Manager Joseph F. Sanzone resigned and a search for a new permanent manager was launched. Retired L.A. County Sheriff’s Chief, Kenneth L. Bayless, was hired in November. In April, Robert Miller was hired as the Director of Human Resources. Carolyn Weeks was hired as the Director of Fiscal Operations in September.

The Underground Storm Drain Program was incorporated as a permanent component of the Operations Department.

2008 GLACVCD successfully managed the second most active West Nile virus year on record for Southern California. California experienced a 17% increase in confirmed West Nile virus positive human cases from 2007 to 2008, with a total of 445 human cases and 15 fatalities reported for the year. The District reported 77 of those cases and one fatality.

The Green Pool Task Force formed and developed a plan to address the high number of neglected swimming pools in the District resulting from the housing foreclosure crisis.

The District made several staffing changes this year. Mark Daniel replaced Director of Operations Mike Shaw, who retired after 31 years of service. Scientific-Technical Director Minoo Madon retired after ten years of service, with former Vector Ecologist Susanne Kluh filling his position. Karen Walker retired after ten years of service as the Education Program Specialist, and Truc Dever filled the newly created position of Director of Community Affairs.

2009 GLACVCD continued protecting residents from the endemic West Nile virus. California reported 112 human cases and 4 fatalities for the year. The District accounted for eight of those cases, one of them leading to a fatality.

The District went digital, and the IT Administrator converted the Santa Fe Springs and Sylmar offices to a new Voice Over IP phone system. The District continued to adopt eco-friendly practices in all departments. Specifically, the Operations Department achieved this goal through the consistent implementation of Best Management Practices.

2010 Following a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that vector control agencies are subject to the Clean Water Act and must obtain an NPDES permit to apply public health pesticides in or near waters of the U.S., the District began working with MVCAC, member districts, and the CA State Water Resources Control Board to develop a state permit and monitoring coalition.

The District, in partnership with the Greater LA Mosquito and Vector Control Public Health and Educational Foundation, launched its first annual “Bite Back Against Mosquito Attacks” Student Poster Design Contest. Fifth-grade student Jeremy Marquez from Downey submitted the grand prize winning artwork and received a $100 US Savings Bond. His design was also featured on 40 Los Angeles County Metro buses as part of the District’s summertime mosquito awareness campaign.

The California Department of Public Health continued to report West Nile virus activity throughout California during the high mosquito season. The State documented 111 human cases of West Nile virus with 6 of those cases resulting in fatalities. Only one human case was reported within District boundaries.

2011 Vector control agencies throughout the state, including GLACVCD, continued to work with the State Water Resources Control Board on the requirements of the new Clean Water Act NPDES permit. The District joined an MVCAC monitoring coalition and moved to implement new operational procedures. H.R. 872 “The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act” was introduced at the federal level as a legislative fix to the redundant and costly permitting requirements but was stalled in the U.S. Senate.

The District and the Greater L.A. Mosquito and Vector Control Public Health and Educational Foundation concluded their second annual “Bite Back Against Mosquito Attacks” Student Poster Contest. Fifth-grade student Jessy Lau from Diamond Bar was named the grand prize winner.

The Greater Los Angeles Area experienced an epidemic West Nile virus year, with activity levels almost reaching those recorded for 2004 and 2008. The California Department of Public Health documented 158 West Nile virus human cases with 9 of those cases resulting in fatalities. Of the 158 statewide cases recorded, 44 were reported within District boundaries with two of those cases resulting in fatalities.

In September 2011, an infestation of the Asian tiger mosquito was discovered in the San Gabriel Valley. The San Gabriel Valley MVCD and GLACVCD worked collaboratively to conduct intensive surveillance and control efforts. The infestation zone incorporated approximately 18 square miles in the cities of South El Monte, El Monte, and portions of unincorporated LA County. The two districts continued to identify Asian tiger mosquito activity through the end of December 2011.

2012 West Nile virus received national attention in the summer of 2012 when health officials in Dallas, Texas declared a state of emergency in response to the unprecedented number of human cases in the state. In Los Angeles, the District experienced the highest level of WNV activity since 2008.

Aggressive surveillance, control, and education efforts also continued as part of the eradication campaign against the invasive Asian tiger mosquito in the San Gabriel Valley. Both WNV and ATM activity continued through the end of December.

2013 General Manager Ken L. Bayless retired and a new general manager was named. Truc Dever began as General Manager on January 1.

District Programs

There are a number of Mosquito Species and Mosquito-Borne Diseases known to occur within the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.

Click here to learn more.