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The Middle Rogue Pesticide Stewardship Partnership

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Oregon Pesticide Stewardship Program Basins as of January 2019. Image: ODA

In 2014, Jackson Soil & Water Conservation District joined 8 other sites in Oregon to monitor pesticide levels in local surface waters.This program is called the Pesticide Stewardship Partnership, and calls for all residents of Oregon to work to understand and reduce the levels of agricultural, commercial, and residential pesticides reaching our state's waterways. In 2019 the South Umpqua pilot PSP program was formed. The map to the right shows all 10 PSP basins in the state.

Why?

A pesticide, as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency, is any substance, or mixture of substances, intended to prevent, destroy, repel, or mitigate any pest. A pest, while most commonly thought of as an insect, may include fungi, bacteria, rodents, and plants. A pesticide may be used on any of these common pests and may be labeled as fungicides, rodenticides, insecticides, or herbicides.

While all legally available pesticides have undergone strict regulatory testing for efficacy and safety, it is important to do as much as possible to reduce non-target application and distribution of these chemicals to preserve soil, air, and water quality. In the state of Oregon, our waterways provide municipal drinking water and agricultural irrigation; are integral habitat to salmon, Pacific lamprey, & steelhead; are economically important recreation centers; and are aesthetic corridors for residents and visitors alike. By partnering with state and local agencies to monitor pesticide levels, we can better develop a plan of action to make sure these waters stay clean and healthy for years to come.

Where?

The Middle Rogue Pesticide Stewardship Partnership is the southernmost PSP location in the state of Oregon. 

2020 sampling will occur at the following locations through October 2020:

  1. Jackson Creek at Bransom Lane  
  2. Wagner Creek at Bear Creek Confluence
  3. Payne Creek at Fern Valley, west of Marigold    
  4. Lone Pine south of Veranda Park    
  5. Lone Pine near Lawnsdale Road

2019 sampling occurred at the following locations:

  1. Jackson Creek at Bramson Road
  2. Larson Creek at N. Phoenix Road
  3. Larson Creek at Ellendale Drive
  4. Payne Creek at Fern Valley Road
  5. Wagner Creek at Bear Creek Confluence
JSWCD's Stewardship Monitoring Coordinator, Jenna Sanford, collects a water sample from Wagner Creek at the Wagner Creek Interpretive Trail trailhead for the 2017 sampling season.

What does this mean for you?

Whether you use pesticides to control your backyard weeds or to prevent devestating crop loss, it is important to understand how the chemicals you use interact with the environment. Some chemicals readily break down into less hazardous compounds, while others may persist for years. Our sampling and subsequent testing and analysis by Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality help us to develop a picture of when and where certain chemicals are entering a waterway. The data we collect includes flow, weather, date, and watershed location. All of these factors are important indicators as to why a certain chemical may be detected at a specific time. Did we just see a big rain event after chemical application? Was the water level especially low, thereby increasing concentrations of a chemical on a given day? Which chemicals are applied to which crop?

As our data set grows, we will develop outreach and communication plans for specific user groups of detected chemicals which will include additional information on when and where to use a chemical, its environmental persistence, and potential environmental impacts of a chemical. 

Contacts

OSU Extension's Southern Oregon Research & Education Center  541-776-7371

Jackson Soil & Water Conservation District 541-423-6159

Oregon Department of Agriculture, Pesiticide Stewardship Specialist, Kirk Cook 541-841-0074