Pesticide hazard

"Pesticide Hazard" was an indicator used during the National Land and Water Resources Audit in the assessment of catchment condition in Australia. It is a qualitative assessment of pesticide hazard based on land-use types [1]. Land-uses with Australia's Intensive Landuse Zone were assigned a rating according to a five-class system in which 'level1' represents minimal application, frequency and toxicity and '5' represents substantial and frequent application and high toxicity pesticides [1]. Catchments with higher pesticide hazard scores may have an increased potential for impacts on waterways [1]. However, the pesticide type, method of application and management practice have been assumed, therefore the indicator is not an absolute measure. This indicator should be validated by comparison with actual pesticide usage information and with results from pesticide analyses of water, sediment and aquatic organisms. In the context of this discussion 'pesticides' include herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and fumigants.

Issues arising from pesticide application

Waterway health is sensitive to the frequency, magnitude and toxicity of pesticide applications [1].

Existing information and data

More information and maps of 'pesticide hazard' can be found at the Catchment Condition Online Maps website [1]. Appendix I (pp. 311-312) in Volume 2 of the Australian Catchment, River and Estuary Assessment, 2002 contains a map of Australia's River Basins and Drainage Divisions in which each river basin has been assigned a number. These catchment numbers can be matched to a large number of coastal waterways in pages 316-363 of the same document. The pesticide hazard scores for a large number of river basins are available in Appendix B (pp 65-76) of the Assessment of Catchment Condition in Australia's Intensive Land Use Zone: A biophysical assessment at the national scale [2].

References

  1. Catchment Condition Online Maps website at Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry Australia.
  2. The assessment of catchment condition was conducted as a partnership between the Audit, the Bureau of Rural Sciences and CSIRO Land and Water with support and involvement of State and Territory natural resource management agencies. The final report (Project 7/8) to the National Land and Water Resources Audit by Walker, J., Veitch, S. Braaten, R., Dowling, T., Guppy, L., Herron, N (2001) is entitled Assessment of Catchment Condition in Australia's Intensive Land Use Zone: A biophysical assessment at the national scale and is found at the following website www.affa.gov.au/content/publications.cfm?ObjectID=333FAF48-3740-4BD1-A2270DA3CFA66DD3.

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