Overview of the Surface Water Protection Program
The goal of DPR’s Surface Water Protection Program is to characterize pesticide residues, identify the sources of the contamination, determine the mechanisms of off-site movement of pesticides to surface water, and develop site-specific mitigation strategies. These are done primarily through surface water monitoring in consultation with other agencies, and research to characterize the factors that lead to off-site movement.
DPR is the lead agency for regulating the registration, sales and use of pesticides in California. It is required by law to protect the environment, including surface waters, from environmentally harmful pesticides by prohibiting, regulating, or controlling the uses of such pesticides. The Surface Water Protection Program addresses both agricultural and nonagricultural sources of pesticide residues in surface waters. It has preventive and response components that reduce the presence of pesticides in surface waters. The preventive component includes local outreach to promote management practices that reduce pesticide runoff. Prevention also relies on DPR’s registration process in which potential adverse effects to surface water quality, particularly those in high-risk situations are evaluated. The response component includes mitigation options to meet water quality goals, recognizing the value of self-regulating efforts to reduce pesticides in surface water as well as regulatory authorities of DPR, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCB).
A major element in achieving DPR’s goals is the initiation and management of contracts that augment DPR’s capabilities to investigate pesticides in surface water. DPR’s contracts have addressed a wide range of research topics related to the identification of pesticide sources in watersheds and validating management practices that reduce pesticide transport in water.