Avoiding damage to non-target plants and animals is always the responsibility of pesticide applicators, but that responsibility is all the more critical when endangered or threatened species are concerned. An endangered species is a plant or animal in danger of becoming extinct. A threatened species is a plant or animal likely to become endangered in the near future. Minnesota has six endangered species and four threatened species listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) federally registers pesticides and has the responsibility under the Endangered Species Act to assure pesticide use does not jeopardize an endangered or threatened species, or destroy or modify its critical habitat. The MDA assists the EPA Office of Pesticide Program's Endangered Species Protection Program in carrying out this responsibility in Minnesota.

PHOTO, Caption: Minnesota Dwarf Trout Lily is found only in Minnesota and is endangered.

Minnesota Dwarf Trout Lily is found only in Minnesota and is endangered.

By following the key points below, pesticide applicators can avoid harming an endangered or threatened species or its critical habitat:

Key points for protecting endangered species

  • Know the endangered, threatened and candidate species that live in your area. U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service provides a listing of Minnesota's federally protected species with general location maps.
  • Before applying pesticides, check with landowners to learn if a protected species lives on the property being treated or on adjoining land. Check with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 888-646-6367, if landowners are uncertain about the presence of protected species. Information on the Minnesota endangered, threatened & special concern species program.
  • Use strategies to prevent damage to non-target organisms, including buffer set-backs, reduced rates, and application timing. Read and follow all directions on pesticide labels. Look for EPA Endangered Species Protection Statements when reviewing pesticide labels.
  • When an EPA Endangered Species Protection Statement appears on a label, check to see if an EPA Endangered Species Protection Bulletin exists for the county the pesticide will be used in. Call the telephone number or visit the website provided. The bulletin is part of pesticide labeling and by law needs to be followed.
  • Obtain a new Endangered Species Protection Bulletin if the one you have will be more than six months old on the day you apply the pesticide.

Bottom line: Be aware of endangered, threatened, and candidate species in the areas you apply pesticides. Realize there is no legal excuse for harming an endangered or threatened species or their crucial habitat with a pesticide.