Tips for Reducing Pesticide Impacts to Threatened and Endangered Species
This page provides resources for pesticide users and applicators interested in reducing exposure of non-target plants and animals to pesticides, with a focus on threatened or endangered (i.e., listed) species.
EPA is currently in consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on registrations of pesticide products containing the insecticides chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion. As part of that consultation, NMFS issued a final biological opinion on these three chemicals in December 2017. Read the biological opinion.
EPA re-initiated consultation with NMFS to allow for consideration of additional information. The Agency remains in consultation with NMFS as they revise their biological opinion.
As part of this re-initiated consultation, EPA committed to providing materials to inform the public and pesticide applicators about endangered species and critical habitats. This includes information on possible risk reduction measures such as best management practices that the public and pesticide applicators can employ to reduce pesticide exposures and impacts to listed species. This information is provided below.
Additional information on the re-initiated consultation is available on the docket.
- Where can I find information on listed species?
- Listed species information from NOAA Fisheries
- Listed species Information from the Fish and Wildlife Service
- Listed species Information from EPA
- Accidental exposure contacts
- Tips for reducing exposure of pesticides from treated areas
Where Can I Find Information on Listed Species?
Information on listed species can be used by pesticide applicators to inform precautions to reduce exposures to listed species’ and their critical habitat. The resources below provide information on listed species and best practices to protect them.
There are two government agencies responsible for the protection, conservation, and recovery of endangered and threatened (listed) species under the endangered species act. NOAA Fisheries is responsible for the protection, conservation, and recovery of listed marine and anadromous species, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for the protection, conservation, and recovery of all other listed species.
Listed Species Information from NOAA Fisheries
Find facts about listed fish species managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), including species biology and population status, where they live, the threats they face, and species conservation.
See maps of critical marine habitat and species location information on the NMFS website.
Visit NOAA Fisheries’ web app that provides information specific to salmon and steelhead located on the west coast of the United States.
Read more about ongoing pesticide consultations with NOAA Fisheries.
Listed Species Information from the Fish and Wildlife Service
For species under the purview of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS), see the FWS Endangered Species page for an abundance of information about Federally listed species, including information on habitat, biological characteristics, and locations of these species and their critical habitats. Information can also be found using FWS’ Environmental Conservation Online System (ECOS), which includes links to a variety of resources related to FWS listed, proposed, and candidate species, including listing rules, recovery plans, and other documents for animals, plants and their critical habitats. ECOS also houses FWS’ Information for Planning and Consulting system (IPaC), which can be used to identify listed species and their critical habitats within an area specified by the user.
Listed Species Information from EPA
EPA maintains a Salmon Mapper application to provide pesticide users with an understanding of certain pesticide use limitations to promote the protection of endangered and threatened salmon and steelhead in California, Oregon and Washington. This application is intended to help pesticide users comply with court-ordered no-spray buffer zones to protect these listed species.
As part of EPA's Endangered Species Protection Program, EPA produces Endangered Species Protection Bulletins, which are accessed through an EPA application. Users enter geographic area and month for a planned pesticide application to generate bulletins that detail any specific limitations that exist for pesticides in the area at the specified time of year.
Accidental Exposure Contacts
If there is an accidental exposure, contact your state’s department that is responsible for protecting fish, game, and natural resources. The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) also has information about reporting pesticide incidents.
NOAA Fisheries or the local FWS field office can also provide additional information and resources.
Tips for Reducing Exposure of Pesticides from Treated Areas
For all pesticides, follow all requirements on pesticide product labels. Store and dispose of pesticides properly. See instructions on pesticide product label for product- or chemical-specific instructions.
- Treat only the specific areas needing treatment and use pesticides only when necessary.
- Be on the alert for wildlife before and during pesticide applications. If you can identify areas that are frequented by wildlife – especially flocks of birds – avoid spraying near those areas or, if necessary, reduce the application rates to the extent possible.
- Many liquid pesticides pose the greatest risk to wildlife when they are still wet. Try to apply them so they will dry before animals enter treated areas.
Use integrated pest management practices to reduce the need for pesticides, such as crop rotation, conservation biocontrol, and intercropping. Additional information on integrated pest management practices can be found here.
- Use technology and equipment that reduces pesticide drift when feasible and do not apply when conditions favor drift (e.g., when wind speeds are greater than or equal to 10 mph).
- Where possible, leave a border of untreated vegetation between treated areas and areas where wildlife may be present.
- Review the various pesticide labels for hazards to wildlife; users should select a product that is efficacious and follow all precautions specified on labels.
- Do not spray if heavy rain is expected within 48 hours as the pesticide may wash away from the area of application and into water bodies.
- Read the label carefully and use the lowest effective rate and lowest number of effective applications.
- Where feasible, refrain from tank mixing or co-applying pesticides with the same mode of action. Information on pesticide modes of action can be found at the following links for insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides.
Mosquito control in aquatic areas:
- Assess available pesticide options and use the option least likely to negatively impact water quality.
- Use larval control methods, including biopesticides in water, to kill mosquito larvae, such as mosquito dunks that use bacteria toxic only to mosquito larvae.
- Additional information on mosquito control can be found here.