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Pesticide News Story: EPA Plans New Limitations on Three Carbamate Pesticides to Protect Endangered and Threatened Salmon and Steelhead

For Release: May 14, 2010

EPA has announced plans to place additional limitations on the use of three N-methyl carbamate pesticides – carbaryl, carbofuran and methomyl – to protect endangered and threatened salmon and steelhead in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. The changes include the addition of buffer zones; application limitations based on wind speed, soil moisture and weather conditions; and a fish mortality incident reporting requirement. The buffers will apply to surface waters within the geographic range of 22 salmon or steelhead for which NMFS indicated continued use of the pesticides would result in likely jeopardy to the species. The remaining limitations will apply to all surface waters within the geographic range of all 28 salmon and steelhead species in the four states. They will replace interim limitations put in place by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in 2004.

The new protections are based on recommendations by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in their April 2009 Biological Opinion relative to use of the three pesticides to ensure no likely jeopardy to 28 threatened or endangered Pacific salmon and steelhead species. In a May 14, 2010 letter to NMFS, EPA explains how the Agency plans to achieve protection goals through the methods outlined by NMFS in the Biological Opinion or by alternative methods that our scientific analyses determined will achieve the same purpose. For example, EPA will require pesticide drift buffers adjacent to salmon and steelhead habitat but will impose different width buffers, some wider and others narrower than those recommended by NMFS, depending on factors that affect how far the pesticide might drift from the application site.

EPA will request the manufacturers to voluntarily adopt the new use limitations, which will be enforceable once pesticide labels are modified to refer to Endangered Species Protection Bulletins. If the manufacturers decline this request, EPA will pursue regulatory action to impose the limitations.

EPA plans to work with NMFS to design a monitoring study that will assess the effectiveness of the new protections. The Agency will seek to require the manufacturers to fund and carry out the monitoring study. Additional information is available at www.epa.gov/espp/.

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