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The Departments of Ecology and Agriculture have released a new report that describes analysis of pesticides in surface waters collected between2009-2011. The report discusses pesticide concentrations, comparisons to assessment criteria and trendsA summary of the report can be found below under the results. The full report can be viewed by clicking on the following link: Surface Water Monitoring Program for Pesticides in Salmon-Bearing Streams, 2009-2011 Triennial Report.
Study data are available through Ecology's Environmental Information Management (EIM) database. Results for different years can be accessed by entering "Pesticides in Salmonid-Bearing" as the Study Name.
Identify, measure, and assess pesticide residues in salmonid-bearing surface waters during the typical use season, over multiple years.
The Washington State Pesticide/Endangered Species Act (ESA) Task Force convened in March 2000 to address the considerable scientific uncertainty surrounding the effects of pesticides on the essential biological requirements of salmonids.
A key question posed by the task force was; "Is there evidence of exposure of pesticide residues to salmonids or the prey base?" They identified "a need for increased surface water monitoring that reflects current land-use patterns/practices as they relate to salmonid habitat and biology."
The task force recommended several Watershed Resource Inventory Areas (WRIAs) for pesticide monitoring. Among these were both agricultural and urban basins. The report detailing these findings is available at the following link: A Process for Evaluating Pesticides in Washington State Surface Waters for Potential Impact to Salmonids.
In 2002, WSDA contracted with Ecology to design and conduct a multi-year surface water monitoring program to characterize pesticide concentrations in salmonid-bearing streams.
The data collected will allow the WSDA, EPA, USFWS, and NOAA to refine exposure assessments for pesticides registered for use in Washington State. Understanding the fate and transport of pesticides used in Washington allows regulators to make appropriate decisions to protect endangered species while minimizing the economic impacts to agriculture.
A wide range of current and historical use pesticides (and degradates) are analyzed in this study. Conventional water quality parameters--total suspended solids, pH, conductivity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and discharge--were measured to better understand chemical fate and toxicity.
The primary criteria applied in site selection included: location within an ESA-listed (threatened or endangered) salmonid Evolutionary Significant Unit (ESU), documented salmonid presence, land use, and historical pesticide detections.
Six watersheds were selected for this study because they fit the primary criteria.
Thornton Creek is located in the Cedar-Sammamish Watershed Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 8 and Longfellow Creek is located in the Green-Duwamish WRIA 9 in the Puget Sound basin. WRIA 8 and 9 are within the Puget Sound Chinook ESU (threatened), Coastal Puget Sound Bull Trout Distinct Population Segment (DPS) (threatened), Puget Sound Steelhead (threatened) and the Puget Sound/Strait of Georgia Coho ESU (species of concern).
Western Washington agriculture is represented by four drainages within the Lower Skagit-Samish WRIA 3: Big Ditch, Browns Slough, Indian Slough, and Samish River. The Lower Skagit-Samish WRIA supports several Puget Sound salmonid populations (Chinook, Coho, Chum, Pink, Sockeye, Bull Trout/Dolly Varden, and Steelhead).
The Lower Skagit-Samish watershed has numerous minor crops such as bulbs (daffodil, iris, and tulip), berries, seed crops, sod, potatoes, peas, and cucumber. The diversity of crops, pesticide use, and large percentages of cropped area are the driving forces for choosing WRIA 3 to represent western Washington agriculture.
Eastern Washington agriculture is represented by eight drainages within three watersheds. The Lower Yakima WRIA 37: Marion Drain, Sulphur Creek Wasteway, and Spring Creek; Wenatchee WRIA 45: Wenatchee River, Brender Creek, Mission Creek, Peshastin Creek; and Entiat WRIA 46: Entiat River. Each WRIA supports diverse salmonid populations (Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, Steelhead, and Bull Trout/Dolly Varden) All three watersheds have numerous minor crops such as currants, cherries, alfalfa, mint, asparagus, apples, and pears. The diversity of crops, pesticide use, and large percentages of cropped area are the driving forces for choosing these WRIAs to represent eastern Washington agriculture.
Results of this ongoing study are presented as annual data summaries, supplemented by three-year reviews. When possible, the three-year review will assess potential pesticide effects to salmonids, their prey base, and habitat. Dissimilar sample regimes of 2003 to years 2004-2005 reduced the ability for direct comparison of the first three-year data set. More detailed effects analyses will take place according to weight of evidence, over multiple years.
Temporal trends and potential impacts to aquatic species are investigated through comparison to (1) EPA registration toxicological criteria for fish, aquatic invertebrates, and plants, (2) Washington State Water Quality Standards, and (3) EPA National Recommended Water Quality Criteria.
Monitoring occurred in six basins: two urban (Thornton Creek in the Cedar-Sammamish, and Longfellow Creek in the Green-Duwamish) and four agricultural (lower Skagit-Samish, lower Yakima, Wenatchee, and Entiat).
During 2009-2011, 74 pesticides or pesticide related compounds were detected. Twelve of these failed to meet an assessment criterion: bifenthrin, chlorpyrifos, DDVP, diazinon, endosulfan, endosulfan sulfate, ethoprop, malathion, methiocarb, metolachlor, methomyl, and total DDT. Pesticide concentrations found likely do not directly affect salmonids but at some sites may affect aquatic invertebrate populations.
Decreasing trends in pesticide concentrations were seen for 16 select pesticides, and increasing trends in concentrations were seen for 10 pesticides.
For the 2012 sampling season copper along with a number of other parameters used in the Biotic Ligand Model (BLM) were added to the current suite of parameters. These parameters were used to assess copper concentrations in the creeks and rivers that are a part of the current project. Hardness based water quality standards were calculated at each site. At a subset of sampling sites, the hardness based water quality standards and BLM water quality standards were compared. A report detailing the findings of the study will be published this summer.
For detailed information and results, follow the link to each report.
To download results data, follow the link below to Ecology's EIM system. Study data are available through Ecology's Environmental Information Management (EIM) database. Results for different years can be accessed by entering "Pesticides in Salmonid-Bearing" as the Study Name.
Ecology Project Lead: Debby Sargeant
Phone: (360) 407-6139
Western Washington Field Lead: Paul
Phone: (360) 407-7548
Eastern Washington Field Lead: Evan Newell
Phone: (509) 575-2825
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