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Implications of the Endangered Species Act on Pesticide Applications in Illinois

Aaron Hager

Department of Crop Sciences
University of Illinois

April 7, 2023
Recommended citation format: Hager, A. "Implications of the Endangered Species Act on Pesticide Applications in Illinois." Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, April 7, 2023. Permalink

Pest management practitioners will increasingly find changes to many pesticide labels as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) begins to implement requirements mandated by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We encourage all who are involved in pest management disciplines (farmers, applicators, scientists, etc.) to become more familiar with the ESA and how the EPA proposes to meet the agency’s requirements under ESA when registering or reregistering pesticides.

Dr. Lee Van Wychen is the Executive Director of Science Policy for the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA). He recently authored a news release in which the WSSA encourages growers to act now to understand the impact of EPA’s ESA compliance initiatives. A portion of Dr. Van Wychen’s letter is reproduced herein; you can read the entire letter at the WSSA web page found at:

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing an updated Endangered Species Act (ESA) Workplan that addresses how the agency can protect nearly 1,700 threatened and endangered species and their critical habitats while governing the registration, distribution, sale and use of pesticides. The Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) and its affiliates encourage growers and land managers to educate themselves immediately on the EPA’s Workplan and the changes they likely will need to make to assure compliance.

To comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), EPA will evaluate the potential effects of pesticides on federally threatened or endangered species and their critical habitats and then recommend mitigation strategies developed in partnership with other federal agencies.

Examples include requirements for vegetative filter strips, field borders and grassed waterways, terracing, contour farming, cover cropping, mulching, the adoption of no tillage or reduced tillage strategies, and the safe disposal of excess seed that has been treated with pesticides. Once finalized, such protections will become part of the formal registration review process for various geographic regions and for various groups of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.


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