Status of court-ordered no-spray buffer zones
The US District Court has mandated interim no-spray buffer zones for certain pesticides around waterways to protect endangered or threatened Pacific salmon and steelhead in Oregon, Washington and California because of litigation. The mandatory no-spray buffer zones from salmon- and steelhead-bearing streams are 60 feet for ground applications and 300 feet for aerial applications. The interim buffer zones will remain in effect for the following pesticides until the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), has released a final biological opinion on the effect of the pesticide on the salmonid species: Carbaryl; Chlorpyrifos; Diazinon; Methomyl; 1,3-dichloropropene; Bromoxynil; Prometryn; Racemic metholachlor.
Final biological opinion issued for three pesticides on January 20, 2015
On Jan. 20, 2015, the final biological opinion was issued for the following three pesticides:
- fenbutatin oxide
The release of the final biological opinion
lifts the court-ordered buffer requirement for these pesticides. However, while EPA considers the recommendations in the biological opinion and any additional mitigation measures needed for these pesticides, you must follow the pesticide label requirements regarding buffer zones.
Buffers imposed by the US district court order
Reinstated streamside no-spray buffer zones
New information available from EPA as of 8/27/2014
“EPA reinstates no-spray buffer zones in California, Oregon
and Washington to Protect salmon as a result of final settlement agreement for
northwest center for alternatives to pesticides v. EPA”.
As of August 15, 2014,
EPA reinstated streamside no-spray buffer zones to protect endangered or
threatened Pacific salmon and steelhead in California, Oregon and Washington.
This action is directed by a stipulated injunction (agreed to by the parties)
that settles litigation brought against EPA by the Northwest Center for
Alternatives to Pesticides and others in U.S. District Court in Washington
State. On August 15, 2014, the US District Court for the Western District of Washington entered the stipulated
injunction, reinstating the streamside no-spray buffer zones that were
originally established in prior litigation; Washington Toxics Coalition (WTC)
v. EPA. The reinstated buffers are part
of the final court order; however, they will not be included as labeling
requirements under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act
No Spray buffer zones will be imposed for the following pesticides
in waters that support salmon:
The no-spray buffer zones, 20-yards (60 feet)
for ground pesticide applications and 100-yards (300 feet) for aerial pesticide
applications, are effective from August
15, 2014. The no-spray buffer zone
restrictions will remain in place until EPA implements any necessary
protections for Pacific salmon and steelhead based on reinstated consultations
with the National Marine Fisheries Services.
To view the no-spray buffer zones go to EPA’s Salmon Mapper. The interactive map will be updated no
later than Sept. 30, 2014, to include the current list of chemicals subject
to the restrictions, enhanced spatial resolution, and the most recent
geospatial data depicting stream reaches where the buffer zones apply.
Under the settlement agreement, there are three
use exemptions carried over from the WTC case:
- Public health vector control
administered by public entities
- National Marine Fisheries Services
- Use of carbaryl under a Washington
state-issued 24(c) registration for oyster beds in the estuarine mudflats of
Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor
In addition to the five pesticides being addressed by the
stipulated injunction, buffers remain in effect for seven active ingredients
that were included in the original WTC case, pending final biological opinions
from the National Marine Fisheries Services. These active ingredients are:
- 1, 3-D
- Racemic metholachlor
More information about specific buffer zones and background
on the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides v. EPA is available on the EPA website.
Direct complaints, concerns, or questions regarding the Court ordered
buffers to: firstname.lastname@example.org
July 16, 2014
EPA requested comments be submitted by July 7, 2014, on a proposed stipulated injunction. This would reinstitute streamside no-spray buffer zones for five insecticides to protect endangered or threatened Pacific salmon and steelhead in California, Oregon, and Washington. The insecticides include the following: carbaryl, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, malathion, and methomyl. Buffers would remain in place until EPA implemented any necessary protections for Pacific salmon and steelhead based on reinitiated consultations with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
The stipulated injunctions would settle litigation brought against EPA by the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP). Like the original buffer zones, the limitations in this proposed stipulated injunction would be part of a court order, but would not be enforceable as labeling requirements under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
The no-spray buffers extend 300 feet from salmon supporting waters for aerial applications of the five pesticides and 60 feet for ground applications. These same buffers are currently in place for the following pesticides:
- 1,3-D (Telone)
- Bromoxynil (Bronate)
- Diflubenzuron (Dimilin)
- Fenbutatin-oxide (Vendex/Promite)
- Prometryn (Caparol/Vegetable Pro)
- Propargite (Comite/Omite)
- Racemic metholachlor ** (Me-Too-Lachlor, Parallel, Stalwart)
The buffers for the seven pesticides listed above will remain in place until the completion of EPA's current Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultations with NMFS.
History of buffer zones
January 30, 2001 — WTC v. EPA
The Washington Toxics Coalition (WTC) and a number of other public interest groups filed suit against the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alleging EPA had failed to assess the potential of certain pesticides to harm federally listed endangered and threatened species, and to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on whether those pesticides posed jeopardy to 26 federally listed endangered and threatened Pacific salmon and steelhead.
Under the Endangered Species Act, EPA must ensure that its registration of pesticides is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of species listed as endangered and threatened, or to adversely modify habitat critical to those species' survival. In addition, the agency must consult, as appropriate, with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) or NMFS if a pesticide's use may affect listed species or designated critical habitat for a listed species.
July 2, 2002 — Court ordered review
The court ordered EPA to review pesticides containing any of 55 active ingredients for their potential effects on these listed species and to consult with NMFS as appropriate.
Jan. 22, 2004 — Interim buffer zones
The court issued an order granting injunctive relief. The order established interim buffer zones adjacent to identified salmon supporting waters (not all water bodies). The buffers were 60 feet for ground applications and 300 feet for aerial applications.
EPA was responsible for making effects determinations for each of the individual pesticides in each of the various geographical regions in relationship to specific fish species. An effects determination is EPA’s conclusion regarding the potential effects a pesticide may have to a listed species. An effects determination may conclude that the pesticide’s use
- Will have "no effect" on a listed species
- "May affect but is not likely to adversely affect" a listed species
- Is "likely to adversely affect" a listed species
Buffers were to remain in effect for each of the individual pesticides until EPA (1) Made a "no effect determination", or (2) determined that the use "may affect but is not likely to adversely affect" a listed species, or is "likely to adversely affect" a listed species, and then completed the required consultation process with NMFS. The consultation process is considered complete, when NMFS issues a final biological opinion.
Court Order - Washington Toxics Coalition, et al vs. EPA
Court order of case regarding pesticides and water quality regarding endangered species Document