Oregon report finds lower pesticide levels and improved water quality
A new interagency report shows a drop in pesticide levels in a majority of watersheds across Oregon.
The finding is contained in the 2017-19 Biennium Report, reported KTVZ News. The report looks at pesticide levels in selected streams in various parts of Oregon and is authored by an interagency water quality management team making up Oregon’s Pesticide Stewardship Partnership.
The partnership is a cooperative, voluntary process between various agencies of the state, local and tribal agencies as well as private stakeholder groups that is designed to identify and address potential concerns regarding surface water and groundwater affected by pesticide use within Oregon, according to the Biennium Report.
“The overall goal of the PSP Program is to achieve measurable environmental improvements in the quality of Oregon waters, thus making them safer for both humans and aquatic life,” said the report.
The report is based on more than 1,000 surface water samples collected, analyzing 129 pesticide compounds, including 57 herbicides, 40 insecticides, 10 fungicides and 16 pesticide concentrations, reported KTVZ News.
Based on the results, nearly 70% of the sites tested showed a measurable improvement. This means pesticides were detected less frequently and in lower concentrations than in the prior two years. 14% remained unchanged and approximately 17% of the watersheds showed more frequent detections or more detectable pesticide concentrations.
The areas of concern for pesticides are prioritized, according to KTVZ. Sites change depending on where detections are thought more likely to occur as well.
The report attributes the improvements to the success of the program’s efforts to combine pesticide monitoring with training and tools for landowners to help reduce the amount of pesticide runoff in streams and rivers.
A part of the program which also may be helping lower the occurrence of pesticides are grants given for projects designed to prevent pesticides from entering water systems in farming and other areas, according to the report.
Read the full 2017-19 Biennium Report here.