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Endangered Species

Endangered Species Case – Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides v. EPA

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EPA is reinstating streamside no-spray buffer zones to protect endangered or threatened Pacific salmon and steelhead in California, Oregon and Washington State. These buffers were originally established in prior litigation brought against EPA by the Washington Toxics Coalition (WTC) and others.

The no-spray buffer zones, 20-yards for ground pesticide applications and 100-yards for aerial pesticide applications effective August 15, 2014, will apply to:

  • Carbaryl.
  • Chlorpyrifos.
  • Diazinon.
  • Malathion.
  • Methomyl.

These buffer zones will remain in place until EPA implements any necessary protections for Pacific salmon and steelhead based on reinitiated consultations with the National Marine Fisheries Services. EPA is reevaluating these pesticides in connection with its current FIFRA registration review process, and the stipulated injunction will reinstate the buffers in the interim. These re-initiated consultations will be nationwide in scope and based on the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report. The reinstated buffers are part of the final court order; however, they will not be included as labeling requirements under FIFRA.

View the no-spray buffer zones in the Salmon Mapper. The interactive map includes the current list of chemicals subject to the restrictions, enhanced spatial resolution, and the most recent geospatial data depicting stream reaches where the buffer zones apply.

Under this settlement agreement, there are three relevant use exemptions carried over from the WTC case:

  1. Public health vector control  administered by public entities, such as the use of malathion by local governments for mosquito control.
  2. NMFS- authorized programs (i.e., where a NMFS finding or permit allows use within the buffers).
  3. Use of carbaryl under a Washington state-issued 24(c) registration for oyster beds in the estuarine mudflats of Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. (In January 2014, Washington state canceled use of the Special Local Need (SLN) or 24(c) for carbaryl to control burrowing shrimp. As a result, there is no longer a carbaryl product available for use under this exemption.)

Background on this Court Case

The stipulated injunction settles litigation brought against EPA by the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides and others in U.S. District Court in Washington State.

In addition to the five pesticides being addressed by this action, protection measures for seven other chemicals that were included in the original WTC case are still in place, pending final biological opinions from the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Read about the Washington Toxics Coalition case.

Links to the Federal Register Notices and Court Orders

Contact Us

If you have questions related to the reinstated buffer zones or the Salmon Mapper, contact us at