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Pesticide Risk Assessment
Pest Management
Pest Control GAPs
Endangered Species

At present, there are more than 350 species in California that either have been formally listed or have been proposed for endangered or threatened status. They include mammals (e.g. kit fox), fish (e.g. Delta Smelt or certain salmon runs), plants (e.g. Colusa grass), insects, birds (e.g. southwestern willow flycatcher) and amphibians (e.g. red-legged frog). Endangered and threatened species are protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Act covers the criteria for listing a species as endangered or threatened as well how to designate critical habitat to protect the species. The Act also requires any government agency that issues a regulation or rule that may have an effect on endangered species to do an assessment. If the agency finds that an action (a rule, a permit, etc.) “may affect” or is “likely to affect” one or more endangered species, they must enter a consultation with the Fish & Wildlife Service or with the National Marine Fisheries Service. The Service then reviews the finding to assess the possible affect(s) and if there is a potential to affect the species what measures should be taken to minimize the potential effects. The Endangered Species Act does not allow the Services to look at the potential economic impact of the proposed alternatives.

Almond growers are currently affected by the ESA in various ways. In a few localized areas they may not be able to plant almonds because of possible effects on habitat or endangered species. More recently, the ESA has been used to reduce the amount of water pumped out of the Delta or from the Sacramento River, exacerbating already short water availability.

On a regular basis growers should check the county bulletins supplied by California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) or their County Agricultural Commissioner’s office to determine if their preferred choice of pesticide has any limitations on it due to the proximity to an endangered species or its habitat. The list of pesticides with restrictions will grow as both EPA and CDPR undertake review of pesticides with an increased focus on the potential effects on endangered species.

It should be noted that almond production may protect and/or provide habitat, especially in areas where development is the primary alternative use for the land.

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