Center for Biological Diversity


Profiles of the 11 Bay Area species

Maps of pesticide use in Bay Area endangered species habitats:

Delta Smelt

Tidewater Goby

California Clapper Rail

Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse

California Tiger Salamander

San Francisco Garter Snake

California Freshwater Shrimp

San Joaquin Kit Fox

Alameda Whipsnake

Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle

Bay Checkerspot Butterfly

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service letters on pesticide impacts to endangered species and the EPA’s inadequate pesticide protection program:

July 2002 USFWS letter to EPA on endosulfan registration

June 2002 USFWS letter to EPA on atrazine registration

June 2001 letter from USFWS on EPA non-compliance for consultation on Texas listed species

January 1999 USFWS memo on pesticide use jeopardizing listed California species

April 1997 USFWS letter opposing Texas carbofuran exemption

July 1995 USFWS letter opposing Oklahoma carbofuran exemption

1988 and 1989 USFWS letters to EPA supporting carbofuran ban

Links to resources for non-toxic homes and gardens:

Washington Toxics Coalition has excellent information on maintaining healthy homes and gardens without pesticides.

Beyond Pesticides offers numerous fact sheets on the least toxic control of pests.

Californians for Alternatives to Toxics publishes information on less toxic pest management in your home.

Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides has a healthier homes and gardens program.

Pesticide Action Network of North America offers tips on pesticide-free lawn care.

American Bird Conservancy’s pesticides and birds campaign outlines what you can do to minimize the threat to birds from pesticides.


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