Background

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In California, DPR has been studying endangered species protection issues with federal funding since 1988. DPR activities include mapping sites occupied by federally listed species, evaluating pesticide exposure risks to inhabited sites, classifying risk and developing protection strategies to minimize risk as needed. There are currently 359 federally listed species in California including federally protected endangered and threatened species, proposed endangered, proposed threatened and Category 1 candidate species (that await only administrative processes to become protected species). Collectively, the federally listed species may occupy about 16 million acres, or about 16 percent of the land area of the state, albeit at very low densities. Of all federally listed species in California, the San Joaquin kit fox has by far the greatest overlap with agricultural areas, accounting for about 10 million acres in 14 counties, mostly in the agriculturally rich southern San Joaquin Valley. Other species that are interspersed with agricultural areas include birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans and many plants.

Since endangered species are not economic pests, there is no essential conflict between using pesticides and protecting endangered species, provided that non-target hazards of pesticides are understood and adequate protection strategies are developed and used to avoid non-target exposures. The local plan for protection of San Joaquin kit fox demonstrates that even species that broadly overlap agricultural areas need not conflict with local pest control programs if non-target exposures are avoided.

DPR coordinates endangered species protection strategies with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Department of Food and Agriculture, and the county agricultural commissioners in accordance with a State Plan, PDF (34 kb). Alternative protection strategies and the State Plan developed under this project are subject to U.S. EPA authorization, PDF (20 kb) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approval, PDF (20 mb).