Endangered Species Act

EPA "May Affect" Pesticide List For Endangered Species
acephate methyl bromide
aldicarb naled
aluminum phosphide parathion
azinphos-methyl permethrin
bendiocarb phorate
brodifacoum pindone
bromadiolone potassium nitrate
bromethalin sodium cyanide
carbofuran sodium fluroacetate
chlorophacinone sodium nitrate
chlorpyrifos terbufos
diphacinone trifluralin
endosulfan vitamin D-3
fenthion warfarin
fenvalerate (and esfenvalerate) zinc phosphide
magnesium phosphide  

The objective of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is to protect endangered and threatened species. FIFRA requires that EPA take steps to prevent harm to these species from the use of pesticides.

In 1973, ESA was enacted “to provide protection for animal and plant species that are threatened or endangered of becoming extinct and to conserve the ecosystems upon which they depend.”

In 1988, ESA was amended to require that EPA work with the USDA and U.S. Department of the Interior to identify appropriate alternatives for implementing a labeling program. The goal of this program was to protect endangered species from pesticides while allowing agricultural production to continue.

EPA has continued to develop a workable endangered species program with input from all concerned parties. Individual state involvement will also play an important part in the program.

In September 1988, EPA requested that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) revise and expand biological opinions for selected pesticides. FWS provided EPA with the document: “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinion on Selected Pesticides: Dated June 14, 1989, (Revised Sept. 14, 1989).” This document provides FWS biological opinions for both aquatic and terrestrial species for selected pesticides. It is available from the National Technical Information Service.

EPA proposed a revised Endangered Species Protection Program in July 1989. The program was designed to fulfill the following:

  • To achieve the best protection for listed species;
  • To be responsive to the needs of the agricultural production in this country by developing a program that could be readily implemented without unnecessary burden on pesticide users.

EPA believes that the goal of protecting listed species from pesticides can best be achieved by focusing on the listed species themselves.

Reducing the burden on pesticide users can best be met through the use of a threshold application rate approach. EPA will determine the threshold (lowest) application rate on the product label that “may affect” listed species.

EPA’s efforts will begin with the most vulnerable of the listed species. Those species will be ranked according to their status, vulnerability to pesticides, and other pertinent factors. The counties in which these ranked species are located, as well as pesticide sites, will be identified.

For application rates at or above the threshold application rate, EPA will initiate a formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). EPA will provide a notification 30 days prior to its consultation with FWS. Rates below the threshold application rate will not be part of the consultation request.

All indoor use products are exempt from the requirements of the Endangered Species Protection Program.

In March 1991, EPA published a notice in the Federal Register regarding its completed “may affect” determinations for 31 pesticides which was forwarded to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The pesticides for which determinations were made are shown in the table.

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