Bureau of Pesticides
The Scientific Evaluation Section (SES), comprised of scientists with expertise in geology, soil science, hydrology, mammalian and ecological toxicology, chemistry and chemical fate modeling, is the technical support section for the Bureau of Pesticides and the Division of Agricultural and Environmental Services and has 4 core functions/programs. First, SES is responsible for the review of all technical data submitted in support of pesticide product registrations. Second, SES provides technical advice in response to pesticide-related incidents or inquiries from the public, state associations, the Bureau of Compliance Monitoring, the Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control, or other county and state agencies. Third, SES includes pesticide programs related to the protection of ground and surface water which include monitoring programs, survey programs, data reviews, and preparation of technical position papers to assist in formulating Department policy. Fourth, SES includes a program dedicated to the protection of endangered species and their habitat. The details of each of these core functions and other duties of SES are further discussed below.
Pesticide Registration Evaluation Committee Reviews
The Scientific Evaluation Section regularly conducts technical reviews of data packages submitted in support of a pesticide product’s registration within Florida. Scientific reviews of New Active Ingredients, Significant New Uses, Special Local Needs, Experimental Use Permits, and Emergency Exemption requests are conducted in a timely manner to assess the environmental fate of pesticides with regard to the protection of surface and ground water under Florida-specific conditions. The environmental fate evaluations assess a chemical’s potential to leach to ground water and predict and model the exposure levels in surface water. The assessment is then extended to evaluate the potential for unacceptable risks to human populations, wildlife and endangered species.
Endangered Species Protection Program
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) (pdf), as administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, is intended to protect and promote the recovery of animals and plants that are in danger of becoming extinct due to various human activities. Under the ESA all federal agencies must ensure that their actions will not jeopardize the existence of federally listed threatened or endangered species or adversely modify designated critical habitat. Therefore, for pesticides, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must ensure that registered pesticides will not harm federally listed species or habitat critical to their survival.
On November 2, 2005, EPA published a final notice concerning the implementation of the Endangered Species Protection Program (ESPP). The goal of the ESPP is to allow EPA to carry out it’s responsibilities under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) (pdf) in compliance with the ESA, without placing an unnecessary burden on agriculture and other pesticide users. EPA is responsible for assessing the potential for impacts to human health and environment when a pesticide product is registered or through a scheduled registration review process. During this assessment process, EPA determines whether federally listed threatened or endangered species or their designated critical habitat may be affected by use of the product. All pesticide products that EPA determines “may affect” a listed species or designated critical habitat may be subject to the ESPP.
The implementation of the ESPP relies on pesticide product labels that will refer the pesticide user to county-specific Endangered Species Protection Bulletins that will contain geographically specific use limitations (i.e., protective measures) that are required to protect listed species or designated critical habitat. Each Bulletin includes a map of the county to which it applies, a description of the species being protected, a list of the pesticides of concern, and their use limitations. Bulletins can be accessed from EPA’s Web Site (Bulletins Live!) or by calling EPA at 1-800-447-3813. Once a pesticide product label references an Endangered Species Protection Bulletin, the use limitations contained in that Bulletin are considered enforceable under FIFRA. Pesticide users may check for Bulletin availability up to six months before applying a pesticide. For additional information, including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), please visit EPA’s ESPP website.
There are currently 108 federally listed endangered and threatened species in Florida, including 53 animals and 55 plants. There are also a number of state listed species, many of which are not included on the federal list. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission administers Florida's Endangered and Threatened Species Act and maintains a listing of those species. In addition, FDACS’ Division of Plant Industry acts as a liaison for the Endangered Plant Advisory Council which serves to improve the protection of endangered, threatened and commercially exploited plant species identified within Florida Administrative Code, Chapter 5B-40.
Providing the best protection for Florida's endangered species from the use of pesticides while minimizing the impacts to pesticide users requires an on-going commitment by FDACS and the community of pesticide manufacturers and users. Together, we can ensure that pro-active pesticide stewardship is practiced and that Florida's natural biological diversity is conserved. The Department maintains a state-funded position with partial responsibilities as the Coordinator of the Endangered Species Protection Program. The core focus of the Coordinator is to educate pesticide applicators, county extension agents, and pesticide compliance inspectors on how EPA is implementing the Endangered Species Protection Program. The Coordinator also assists FDACS, EPA, and other state and federal agencies in determining risk and mitigating potential impacts of pesticides on endangered species in Florida. Components of the State Endangered Species Protection Program are as follows:A. Education and Outreach
Through meeting presentations and information available on our public website, FDACS will educate pesticide users and those involved in training and enforcement of pesticide regulations in Florida on EPA’s Endangered Species Protection Program.B. Registration Evaluation
The Department will continue to evaluate new active ingredients, significant new use, special local need, experimental use permit and Section 18 applications for potential impacts to endangered species.C. Review Protection Bulletins and Assist in Effects Determinations
FDACS is committed to assisting EPA in making federally listed species-specific effects determinations, including evaluating options for mitigating potential effects for those species located in Florida. FDACS will also assist EPA in reviewing draft Bulletins and will continue to provide EPA with valuable information such as crop location, pesticide use, and species occurrence data to use in listed species-specific effects determinations for Florida.D. New Outreach Mechanisms
The Department will continue to explore alternative mechanisms to promote awareness of endangered species protection goals for pesticide users.
Other States' Endangered Species Protection Programs:
The Ground Water Protection Program (GWPP) of the Scientific Evaluation Section oversees pesticide management efforts to prevent adverse impact from pesticide use to the State’s ground water resources. The activities of the GWPP are divided into the following 4 major categories:
Surface Water Protection Program
1. Prospective Ground Water (PGW) Field Studies may be requested by regulatory agencies as a condition of the registration of a new active ingredient, if the active ingredient appears to have the potential to compromise ground water quality. Prospective field tests characterize the ground water quality before and after a pesticide is applied and are conducted under more controlled conditions, relative to other monitoring study designs. These studies are based on specific FDEP guidelines involving a detailed geologic characterization of a small area that is vulnerable to ground water impact and a subsequent study of that area to characterize the migration of the tested pesticide. These studies typically involve the instrumentation of a naive site and are often conducted to comply with USEPA requirements for field testing of products. However, the GWPP is not limited to just the conduct of monitoring studies but also includes the review and evaluation of ground water and field dissipation studies performed by pesticide manufacturers and submitted in support of a product’s registration in the State. Examples of prospective monitoring projects completed, underway, or under review by staff of the FDACS include the following. The following list does not include those data reviewed in support of a registration action.
- Thiamethoxam - Macon, GA,
- Iodomethane - Miami-Dade Co., FL
- Iodomethane - Sarasota Co., FL
2. Retrospective Ground Water (RGW) Field Studies, like PGW studies, may also be initiated at the request of regulatory agencies as a condition of the registration of a product. However, in contrast to PGW study designs, RGW studies are conducted in areas where the pesticide application has already been made. These studies may involve sampling lysimeters, installing new wells or sampling of existing monitoring wells and potable wells, and collecting soil samples. Examples of retrospective monitoring projects completed, underway, or under review by staff of the FDACS including the following.
- 1,3-Dichloropropene - Winter Haven, FL
- Thiamethoxam - Hamilton, Manatee, and Suwannee Counties
3. Monitoring programs - The Lake Wales Ridge Ground Water Quality Monitoring Network is a cooperative effort between FDACS, Southwest Florida Water Management District, and the US Geological Survey. The program was established to monitor spatial and temporal trends of pesticide and nitrate detections in a highly vulnerable region of Florida. Due to budget constraints, participation by Southwest Florida Water Management District and the US Geological Survey ceased in 2011 and 2012, respectively. As a result, FDACS is currently the only participant in this long-term study.
4. The GWPP routinely works with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Health which maintain the Drinking Water Toxics Program. Through this program and in cooperation with County Health Departments, Florida Department of Health samples and analyzes potables well throughout the state. Although a statewide program, the sampling tends to focus on regions with high chemical uses rates and high aquifer vulnerabilities. FDACS routinely reviews this data as an early indicator of potential leaching.
These data are reviewed by FDACS and may serve as the basis for the development of measures to mitigate potential impacts to ground water quality. FDACS then works with stakeholders to develop measures to reduce the risk to ground water.
The Surface Water Protection Program works to ensure that pesticide applications do not pose an unreasonable risk to surface waters of the state. Although only a minor portion of Florida’s population receives their drinking water from surface water sources, contamination of surface waters can pose a significant risk to aquatic plants and animals. Therefore, protection of the surface water resources of the state is very important.
An example of surface water monitoring projects completed, underway, or under review by staff of the FDACS including the following.
- Fipronil - Ocala, FL
- Fipronil - Gulf Breeze, FL
- Fipronil - Orange County, NC
As with the ground water program, the results of these monitoring studies may be critical in determining whether stakeholders should develop mitigation measures to reduce risks to surface water.
Pesticide Usage Information Report
Chapter 487.160 F.S., requires the Department to survey and report on restricted-use pesticides in the state every three years. To fulfill this requirement, FDACS compiles the occurrence of different types of Restricted Use Pesticide violations and collates available information on agricultural pesticides using newly released reports from the United States Department of Agriculture. The Pesticide Usage information reports provide pesticide use data for the major Florida crops, based on acreage. The PUI report includes the following data for each pesticide, when available:
- The percent of total acreage of a crop treated with each specific pesticide
- The average number of applications each crop received for each pesticide
- The amount of active ingredient (AI) applied per application
- The amount of AI applied per acre per crop year
- A calculation of the total pounds of AI applied per crop.
Please note these links will open the page in a new window.
In addition, the reports provide usage information for mosquito control districts in Florida.
- National Agricultural Statistical Survey
- Florida Agricultural Statistical Service
- CropLife Foundation
For questions, concerns, complaints or compliments please email us at AESCares@FreshFromFlorida.com