Common Pesticides Threatening Salmon Populations

A federal conservation agency is proposing a no-spray buffer zone near West Coast salmon habitats.


Conservation groups are calling for tighter restrictions on the use of pesticides close to salmon habitats after a federal evaluation found that the toxic substances are placing West Coast salmon populations in jeopardy. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service, oryzalin, pendimenthalin, and trifluralin—common pesticides used on home lawns and crops—present a viable threat to half of the 26 salmon populations found on the West Coast, all of which are protected under the Endangered Species Act. In response, the NOAA is urging the US Environmental Protection Agency to implement no-spray buffers near salmon streams. The EPA is currently in the process of evaluating the safety of 37 pesticides, a project that should be finished by June 2013.

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