Plants/Pests > Maryland Endangered Species Protection

 Maryland Endangered Species Protection

The Endangered Species Act is intended to protect and promote the recovery of plants and animals that are in danger of becoming extinct due to human activity. Under this act, mandated by Congress, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must ensure that the use of registered pesticides will not result in harm to endangered or threatened species listed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), or to habitat that is critical to the survival of the species. Currently there are three mammals, four birds, two fish, one mollusk, two insects, two reptiles and six plants found in Maryland that are on the federal list of endangered species. Some of these species are listed as migratory and could be found in Maryland during periods of their migration along the coast or the Chesapeake Bay. The federal list includes a range of species from the well known bald eagle to the little known and seldom seen dwarf wedge mussel. The endangered species found in Maryland have diverse habitat requirements. In some cases, suitable and available habitat is a limiting factor to the recovery of the protected species. All areas of the state currently contain one or more endangered species that could be affected by pesticides. It is your responsibility as pesticide applicators to ensure that steps are taken to protect endangered species from unreasonable and unnecessary exposure to pesticides.

darter fishEach state is responsible for implementing the federal Endangered Species Protection Program in cooperation with EPA. As part of this program EPA has published an interim pamphlet "Protecting Endangered Species, Interim Measures, Harford County, Maryland" for the Maryland darter, a small fish in the perch family. The last known location of the darter in the United States is in Harford County. The habitat of the Maryland darter, shown in the pamphlet, covers approximately 18 miles of stream including Deer Creek south of U.S. Route 1 downstream to the Susquehanna River, and the entire length of Buck Branch, Elbow Branch and Gashey s Creek. The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) has mailed this pamphlet to all commercial pest control companies and public agencies along with the private applicators in Harford, Cecil, and Baltimore Counties.

Besides illustrating the species habitat area, the pamphlet lists specific precautions, including use restrictions, necessary to protect the Maryland darter. The USFWS is the agency that decides what pesticides are the most hazardous to agiven species and the appropriate use restrictions, along with determining the area of habitat that needs to be protected. The USFWS has determined that 44 different pesticides are a threat to the darter or its habitat. Twenty-nine of these are insecticides, six are herbicides, four are fungicides, two are acaricides and two are nematicides. The use restrictions and/or limitations are dependent on the specific pesticide and type of application method that is employed. Each pesticide is assigned a code number (i.e., 1, 3, or 20) which designates certain restrictions on its particular use. Code 1 requires that the pesticide not be used within 20 yards of the water s edge for ground applications, nor within 100 yards for aerial applications. Pesticides listed as Code 3 are not to be used within 100 yards of the water s edge for ground applications, nor within mile for aerial applications. Code 20 pesticides are not allowed to be directly applied to the water within the delineated habitat area. (Refer to the pamphlet "Protecting Endangered Species, Interim Measures, Harford County" for listed pesticides.)

These restrictions are not law at this time. They are part of a voluntary program to help protect the darter from possible pesticide exposure. These restrictions, or ones similar to them, will become mandatory requirements in the future to protect the darter and possibly other endangered species found in Maryland. It will be the pesticide user s responsibility to be aware of protected areas and restrictions that apply.

The following is a list of the federal endangered species found in Maryland:

Federal Endangered Species Found In Maryland
Swamp Pink
Sandplain Gerardia
Canby s Dropwort
Sensitive Joint-Vetch
Northeastern Bulrush
Indiana Bat
Delmarva Fox Squirrel
Eastern Cougar
Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle
Puritan Tiger Beetle
Bald Eagle
Red-Cockaded Woodpecker
Arctic Peregrine Falcon
Piping Plover
Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle
Maryland Darter
Shortnose Sturgeon
Dwarf Wedge Mussel