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Pesticides

EPA Opens Comment Period for Draft Biological Opinions on Four Pesticides

February 19, 2021

EPA and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) are seeking comment on two NMFS draft biological opinions on four pesticides. Metolachlor, bromoxynil and prometryn are herbicides used to control grasses and broadleaf weeds, and 1,3-D is a pesticide used in pre-plant fumigation.

The draft biological opinions evaluate the impact of these pesticides on 26 federally listed endangered and threatened species of Pacific salmon and steelhead in Washington, Oregon, and California. The draft biological opinions find that registered uses of these pesticides do not jeopardize the listed salmon and steelhead populations or their critical habitats.

In addition to the “no jeopardy” findings, the draft biological opinions also describe reasonable and prudent measures (RPMs) to protect the listed species of salmon and steelhead and their critical habitats.

EPA and NMFS encourage public input on the RPMs. In particular, the agencies are seeking input from stakeholders on:

  1. Additional risk reduction options, if any, to include in the RPMs.
  2. Efficacy data to support additional risk reduction options; in the case of 1,3-D, data to support increased soil injection depth and tarping as a means of reducing pesticide loading into aquatic habitats.
  3. Existing stewardship programs to reduce pesticide loading within the range of listed salmonids (i.e., family of coldwater fish that includes salmon and trout) that NMFS should consider for qualification of risk reduction credit in the RPMs.

After the public comment period closes, EPA will provide the collected comments to NMFS for its consideration in developing the final biological opinions.

In publishing these draft biological opinions and accepting public comments, EPA is following the enhanced stakeholder practices for Endangered Species Act consultations finalized in March 2013.

The public comment period will be open for 60 days. The draft biological opinions are included in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2021-0150 at www.regulations.gov.