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National Pesticides Monitoring and Surveillance Network
Little AuSable River in Southwestern Ontario
river during the early spring
Canadian’s are universally concerned about the quality of our water resources. Pesticides have been identified as one of the fifteen key threats (Threats to Sources of Drinking Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Health in Canada) to Canadians freshwater quality, with a National pesticides surveillance and monitoring program identified as a key need. The National Pesticides Monitoring and Surveillance Network was established in 2003 to study, evaluate and report on pesticides and their transformation products to support Environment Canada’s freshwater ecosystem approach to watershed management. The Program also generates relevant data, information and advice that are considered by the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency in carrying out its regulatory mandate for pest control products under the Pest Control Products Act.
Acts (Environment Canada Acts, Regulations and Agreements) administered by Environment Canada that have the potential to be affected by or overlap with the Pest Control Products Act include: the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999; the Migratory Birds Convention Act; the Canada Wildlife Act; the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act; the Canada Water Act; the Species at Risk Act; and, the Fisheries Act (Section 36(3) as well as the other pollution prevention provisions of that Act). Environment Canada is therefore interested in pest management regulatory decisions as they affect its responsibilities for environmental conservation and protection, and sustainable development.
Indian Creek, in Burlington Ontario where
urban sampling is conducted
The Network operates on a rotational basis in high risk priority watersheds, and focuses on:
- current-use pesticides undergoing risk assessment;
- pesticides those that have been the subject of risk management decisions; as well as,
- selected current-use pesticides of emerging concern.
The Network is designed to be flexible, allowing for changes to site selection, parameters measured, and frequency of sampling as program results are evaluated and regulatory needs redefined.
The Program provides comprehensive, systematic and detailed information on an agreed-upon list of current-use pesticides from a national perspective, complemented by information on additional, specific pesticides of interest in selected watersheds.
During the 2010 sampling season there were twenty sites in the National Pesticides Monitoring and Surveillance Network (including five reference sites), strategically located in key watersheds across Canada (see map).
Map of National Pesticides Surveillance sites, showing reference and non-reference locations in key watersheds across Canada for 2010 sample collections
National Pesticides Surveillance stations visited in 2010. Reference stations (Hasting Creek (BC), McKinnon Creek (MB), Spring Creek (ON), La Mauricie National Park (QC), Fales River (NS)) are shown in blue; non-reference stations (Fishtrap Creek(BC), Hope Slough (BC), Prairie Creek (BC), Swift Current River (SK), Carrot River (SK), La Salle River (MB), Blyth Brook (ON), Middle Maitland River (ON), Nissouri Creek (ON), L'Acadie River (QC), Noire River (QC), Yamaska River (QC), Falls Brook (NB), Wilmot River (PE), Upper Cornwallis River (NS)) are shown in red.
The data are stored in a distributed system of Envirodat databases. Please refer to the Data and Products Section for information on how to access these data.
The National Pesticides Monitoring and Surveillance Network provides information for:
- determining spatial and temporal trends of pesticides;
- evaluating pest management strategies and pest control product risk reduction measures;
- evaluating impacts to the environment of pest control products, which also contributes to environmental assessments;
- ensuring the compatibility of federal and provincial measurements;
- developing national environmental quality guidelines for current-use pest control products.
- Acidic Herbicides: Mecoprop, 2,4-D, Dicamba, Dichlorprop, MCPA, Clopyralid, Bromoxynil, Dichlorprop
- Neutral Herbicides: Butylate, Trifluralin, Diallate I, Diallate II, Simazine, d-Simazine, Atrazine, d-Atrazine, Triallate, Metribuzin, Metolachlor, Diclofop-methyl, Benzoylprop-ethyl, Ethalfluralin
- Glyphosate and Metabolites: Glyphosate, Glufosinate, Aminomethylphosphonic Acid [AMPA]
- Carbamates: Aldicarb, Carbaryl, Carbofuran, Metalaxyl, Methomyl, Oxamyl, Pirimicarb
- Organophosphorus Pesticides: Dibrom, Phorate, Dimethoate, Diazinon, Terbufos, Fonofos, Malathion, Chlorpyrifos, Parathion, Ethion, Phosmet, Azinphosmethyl, Disulfoton
- Sulfonylurea and Related Herbicides: Acifluorfen, Bensulfuron-methyl, Chlorimuron-ethyl, Chlorsulfuron, Clomazone, Diurion, Flumetsulam, Fomesafen, Linuron, Metsulfuron-methyl, Nicosulfuron, Primisulfuron-methyl, Prosulfuron, Rimsulfuron, Thifensulfuron-methyl
- Neonicotinoids: Imidacloprid
The herbicides 2,4-D, mecoprop, dicamba, glyphosate and its major metabolite AMPA were most frequently detected. Using either herbicide concentrations upstream/downstream of urban centres or bromoxnil and clopyralid as surrogates for agricultural input of herbicides to streams, it was clear that environmental levels of these herbicides in urban areas were closely linked to urban use in Canada. None of the herbicides measured exceeded existing guidelines for the protection of aquatic life.
This is the first time a national survey of pesticides in urban rivers has been carried out in a consistent fashion across the country. Although it was determined that 2,4-D, mecoprop, dicamba, glyphosate and AMPA were frequently detected and linked to urban use there were some geographical differences suggesting differences in usage patterns. Some jurisdictions in Canada have recently restricted cosmetic use of pesticides and such restrictions may lead to reduced pesticide concentrations in surface waters.
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