Protecting San Francisco Bay Area Endangered Species
From Toxic Pesticides
In May 2007 the Center filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for violations of the Endangered Species Act, in order to protect 11 San Francisco Bay Area endangered and threatened species and their habitats that are jeopardized by pesticide use. Under the Bush administration, the EPA has failed to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or adequately consider endangered species impacts when registering and authorizing use of at least 46 toxic pesticides that may harm vulnerable Bay Area wildlife species.
Pesticides may harm at least 30 of the 51 Bay Area animal species listed under the Endangered Species Act. The Center brought legal action to force the EPA to rapidly and thoroughly assess the effects of pesticide use on 11 of the Bay Area’s most vulnerable listed species. The Center will be seeking interim pesticide use restrictions for the 11 species similar to those it recently obtained to protect the California red-legged frog, until assessments of pesticide impacts have been completed.
Pesticides of concern have been documented in Bay and Delta aquatic habitat for the Delta Smelt and Tidewater Goby; tidal marshland habitat of the California Clapper Rail and Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse; freshwater and wetlands habitat of the California Tiger Salamander, San Francisco Garter Snake and California Freshwater Shrimp; and terrestrial habitat of the San Joaquin Kit Fox, Alameda Whipsnake, Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle and Bay Checkerspot Butterfly.
Read the May 2007 complaint against the EPA and the May 29, 2007 press release.
Read the January 2007 notice of intent to sue the EPA.
Read the press release.
Learn more about the Center’s Pesticides Campaign, intended to hold the EPA accountable for pesticides it registers for public use, and to cancel or restrict use of harmful pesticides within endangered species habitats.
Center Wins Pesticide Use Restrictions to Protect Red-legged Frogs
As the result of a previous Center lawsuit, in October 2006 the EPA and pesticide industry representatives signed a settlement agreement with the Center that prohibits use of 66 toxic and persistent pesticides in and adjacent to core California Red-legged Frog habitats throughout California until the EPA completes formal consultations with the Fish and Wildlife Service. Find out more about the Red-legged Frog settlement and pesticide use restrictions.
Report on Pesticide Impacts to Bay Area Endangered Species
In March 2006 the Center released a comprehensive 53-page report detailing the risk toxic pesticides pose to endangered species in the San Francisco Bay Area and the failure of the EPA to regulate pesticides harmful to imperiled species. The report, Poisoning Our Imperiled Wildlife: San Francisco Bay Area Endangered Species at Risk from Pesticides, also analyzes the EPA’s ongoing refusal to reform pesticide registration and use in accordance with scientific findings.
Read the Center’s March 2006 report on pesticide risks to Bay Area endangered species
Read the press release about the report
The Case for Banning Atrazine
Atrazine, the most commonly used herbicide in the United States, is so dangerous to humans and wildlife that it was recently banned by the European Union. Numerous studies have provided overwhelming evidence linking atrazine to significant human and wildlife health concerns, including endocrine disruption.
Atrazine is also linked to declines of endangered amphibians in California and many other endangered species throughout the country. Recent studies by Dr. Tyrone Hayes at the University of California have strengthened the case for banning atrazine, the most common contaminant of ground, surface and drinking water. Dr. Hayes demonstrated that atrazine is an endocrine disruptor that directly affects the sexual development of amphibians, chemically castrating and feminizing male frogs at concentrations 30 times lower than levels allowed by the EPA.
Use of atrazine in the Bay Area is of particular concern for amphibians such as the California Red-legged Frog and California Tiger Salamander, and for fish such as Delta Smelt, Coho and Chinook Salmon, and Steelhead Trout. Atrazine has also been linked to increased prostate cancer and decreased sperm count in men, as well as higher risk of breast cancer in women.
Harper’s Magazine August 2006 – US: It's Not Easy Being Green: Are Weed-Killers Turning Frogs into Hermaphrodites?
Innovations Report February 2006 – Pesticide Combinations Imperil Frogs
Sierra Magazine 2004 – A Frog Biologist Battles an Agrichemical Giant
Articles by Tyrone Hayes:
Pesticide Mixtures, Endocrine Disruption, and Amphibian Declines: Are We Underestimating the Impact?
There Is No Denying This: Defusing the Confusion about Atrazine