SK Water Monitoring for Neonicotinoid Insecticides

  • Term: 1 year, beginning 2017

  • Funding Amount: $ 36,000

  • Lead Researcher(s): Claudia Sheedy (AAFC, Lethbridge)

  • Funding Partners: Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission and Saskatchewan Pulse Growers Association

Project Description

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada has announced plans to phase out the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid in response to water quality information showing concentrations sufficiently high to be toxic to aquatic insects. However, the water quality information currently available to understand neonicotinoid concentrations in the environment is based on limited data, especially in prairie streams and rivers. Thus, PMRA will accept and consider submissions of new information that could influence their final decision on phase-out of imidacloprid until Fall 2017. It is expected that PMRA intends to follow with similar decisions on the related neonicotinoid insecticides clothianidin and thiamethoxam. Use of clothianidin and thiamethoxam in Saskatchewan exceeds 10 million acres annually with virtually all canola seeded receiving application. Use of these three neonicotinoids is estimated to result in agricultural production in excess of $100M annually in Canada.

An environmental monitoring working group was formed to plan, coordinate and implement water quality monitoring for neonicotinoids in 2017 to support a submission to PMRA from the multi-stakeholder forum. The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, as a member of the environmental working group, has requested the Water Security Agency’s (WSA) support to develop and implement water quality monitoring for neonicotinoids in Saskatchewan that are consistent with national protocols and standards established by the environmental working group.

The WSA has proposed the option to use their Baseline Environmental Monitoring of Lower Order Saskatchewan Streams (BEMLOSS) sites already established for environmental monitoring to monitor for the presence of all three neonicotinoid pesticides in Saskatchewan water courses. The WSA’s BEMLOSS sites were established in 2008 in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture at 15 sites to provide information on potential effects of agriculture on small-scale streams. PMRA has reviewed and approved these sites and the proposed plan for the monitoring of neonicotinoids in Saskatchewan.

Information from these water monitoring programs could influence their final decision on the phase-out of imidacloprid and the subsequent special review of the other two neonicotinoids.