Article written by: Ashlea Frank, Leah Duzy, Chad Jones (Compliance Services International), Richard Brain, and Tony Burd (Syngenta Crop Protection)
The use of “best available date” is a fundamental requirement for all scientific forms of analysis. This paper discusses ways to improve the accuracy of data used to evaluate the potential impacts of pesticides on species that are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by ensuring the best available spatial data representing pesticide use sites are applied correctly. A decision matrix is presented that uses accuracy information from metadata contained in the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Cropland Data Layer (CDL) and the Census of Agriculture (CoA) to improve how labeled pesticide use sites are spatially delineated. We suggest recommendations for the current pesticide evaluation process used by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and subsequently by the US Fish and Wildlife Services and National Marine Fisheries Service (collectively known as the Services) in Section 7 consultation activities. The decision matrix is applied to each cultivated land layer in the USDA’s CDL with recommendations for how best to use each layer in the evaluation process. Application of this decision matrix will lead to improved representation of labeled uses and more accurate overlap calculations used in the assessment of potential impacts of pesticides on endangered species. To read the article, click here.