Friday, September 11, 2009

Feds impose new limits on pesticides to protect salmon

Sockeye salmon in the Columbia River, Washington state. (Photo courtesy WDFW)

WASHINGTON, DC, September 11, 2009 (ENS) - For the first time in 20 years, two federal government agencies that are required by law to consult together on how pesticides affect endangered species have completed a consultation on salmon exposure to pesticides.

As a result, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced plans to place additional limitations on the use of three organophosphate pesticides — chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion — to protect endangered and threatened salmon and steelhead in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

The limitations will apply to surface waters encompassing each of 28 salmon and steelhead species in the four states.

Changes to product labels will include the addition of pesticide buffer zones; application limitations based on wind speed, soil moisture and weather conditions; and fish mortality incident reporting requirements.

New, enforceable labels could be available as early as the 2010 spring growing season.

"These limitations, developed as a result of the Endangered Species Act formal consultation process, will protect Pacific salmon and steelhead while providing for appropriate pesticide use," said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances.

"These new limits are especially significant because they mark the first time that EPA and National Marine Fisheries Service have completed the consultation process under the Endangered Species Act in more than 20 years. This is a major step forward for both EPA and NMFS in meeting the requirements of the law. This process has been broken for too long." …

Feds Impose New Limits on Pesticides to Protect Salmon

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