Washington Growers Get Good News

Published online: Nov 24, 2004 WSDA
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Washington growers could yell "we told you so" concerning a search for pesticides in several salmon-bearing streams but they will probably be content to just relish the good news.

After the Washington State Dept. of Agriculture contracted with the state Department of Ecology to do a three-year study of pesticide residues in streams, the first years's results were positive--for all growers.

The first year's results (from April through June 2003) showed that two index watersheds representing agriculture and urban land-use patterns through bi-weekly sampling showed very little pesticide residue in either watershed.

Surface water was sampled for 87 resgistered pesticides. The agricultural study was done in the Lower Yakima watershed. No pesticides were found in 96 percent of agricultural and upban stream samples while the remaining 4 percent showed minimal or barely dectectable levels.

Of the 46 pesticides found in agricultural sampling sites, 2,4-D was the most common chemical. Samples from the urban stream found 17 pesticides. The most being pentachlorophenol (a wood preservative).

The study will continue for two more years. If any significant pesticide finds are made, the department will work with growers to modify practices.