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Pesticide Protection Gained for Northwest Salmon

More than ten years since the first listing of a Northwest salmon species under the Endangered Species Act, the Environmental Protection Agency–the federal agency responsible for approving and regulating the use of pesticides–has finally begun to clean up the water for the fish. A federal district court judge issued the order July 28, to block pesticide use in a buffer area along the endangered salmon's streams, noting that "pesticide-application buffer zones are a common, simple, and effective strategy to avoid jeopardy to threatened and endangered salmonids." Despite the well documented harm pesticides cause fish, including impaired reproduction, feeding and growth, the EPA has continued to allow pesticide application adjacent to streams. "Pesticides that pollute water and harm salmon also present a clear threat to people and our health," noted Aimee Code of the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides. The enforcement of the new buffer zone begins the first step in ensuring the salmon a healthy ecosystem, and is a victory for all the water users.