Progress Toward Protections for Federally Listed Species
Multiple factors, including habitat loss, climate change, invasive species, pests/diseases and chemical stressors can contribute to population declines of endangered and threatened species (listed species). When EPA registers a pesticide or re-evaluates it in registration review, we have a responsibility under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to protect listed species and their designated critical habitats from further declines that may occur as a result of our actions.
One part of the pesticide registration and re-evaluation process is consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services), if appropriate. Through the consultation process, the Services provide recommended measures for EPA to minimize harm to listed species from pesticides. These measures have traditionally been implemented after the consultation process is complete, leaving a gap between pesticide registration and implementation of mitigation measures. To close this gap, EPA is working before the completion of consultation, rather than after, to identify practical and effective mitigation strategies that may be implemented.
EPA is currently engaging in multiple efforts to mitigate risks to listed species in a more timely and effective manner, including:
- developing practical mitigations to broad groups of pesticides for a subset of vulnerable listed species, to be applied as appropriate to new registrations and products undergoing registration review;
- implementing early protections for a subset of registered pesticides that are being considered in registration review; and
- working to modify proposed registrations of new pesticides to reduce risks to listed species before they are registered.
Example protections and mitigations may include:
- spray drift reduction;
- geographic or temporal restrictions to applications; and
- application rate reductions.
EPA is looking forward to collaborating with stakeholders to ensure that meaningful mitigation measures are put into place to protect listed species from pesticides.