Endangered Species

Santa Clara County has designated habitat for 5 endangered species: The California Clapper Rail, The Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse, California Tiger Salamander, Bay Checkerspot Butterfly, and the San Joaquin Kit Fox. Santa Clara County is also home to many more threatened and rare species.

Who protects endangered species?

The Department of Fish and Game is the primary agency in charge of protecting California wildlife. When a pesticide application results in the death of an endangered or threatened species, the Agricultural Commissioner’s office coordinates their investigation with the Department of Fish & Game and these inspections are given a priority investigation status with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

How can a grower or property owner find out if they have a species of concern or critical habitat on their land?

If you have a permit or operator ID number from our office, your permit will list a Section, Township, and Range for each of your growing sites. You can use these coordinates to find out what species might be found on your land and what precautions you will need to take by logging-on to the Department of Pesticide Regulation’s PRESCRIBE database.

If you have any questions about endangered or threatened species potentially located on your growing grounds in Santa Clara County, call your District Biologist and they will help you look up information on DPR’s PRESCRIBE website.

Court-Ordered Injunctions

There have been a number of recent court-ordered injunctions affecting the use of certain pesticides in critical habitats in the San Francisco Bay Area. These court-ordered injunctions are the result of lawsuits filed against the US EPA. In these cases, a judge has ordered users of certain pesticides to abide by additional use restrictions or buffer zones. These additional use restrictions are not enforced by a government agency. They are enforced by citizen / organization lawsuits.

May 2010 Injunction

The most recent Bay Area court injunction requires the EPA to review the registrations of pesticides containing 75 active ingredients for their potential effects on 11 federally listed endangered or threatened species in 8 Bay Area Counties. To find out more about this injunction, visit EPA's website.  

If you would like to read the injunction, you can find it on this EPA webpage:  May 2010 Injunction

Red-legged frog injunction

In 2006, a California Court ordered a stipulated injunction regarding the use of 66 different pesticides in California Red-legged Frog habitat. Pesticide users near frog habitat will need to follow the steps listed on EPA’s website to determine if use-restrictions or buffer zones apply:
Red-legged frog webpage

Salmon injunction

The US EPA has issued implementation measures to protect salmon species from several pesticides. The EPA has finished its review of 55 pesticides and is currently consulting with the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding 37 pesticides and their potential effects on salmonid species. As a general rule, the court order establishes a 20-yard buffer zone for hand applications and a 100-yard buffer zone for aerial pesticide applications near salmon-supporting waters. You can read about these implemented measures on EPA’s website: Salmon webpage

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