Ministry Concerned Over Pesticide Contamination

In an effort to reach out to industry, the BC Ministry of Agriculture recently informed multiple grower groups that neonicotinoid pesticide contamination was discovered within the Nicomekl watershed in the Langley area of BC’s lower mainland. 

The source of the residues remains unknown however the watershed does contain a number of agricultural operations, including mixed field vegetable, nursery, floriculture, greenhouse vegetable, golf courses and sportsfields.

The map above outlines the Nicomekl watershed in blue, in Langley, BC

The Ministry sampled several watersheds in the Lower Mainland and Okanagan for the neonicotinoid class of insecticides this past summer.  The data was to support the final Health Canada decision on the regulatory status of imidacloprid and the other ‘neonics’.  In the case of imidacloprid, said to be the most widely used insecticide in the world, the federal regulator has proposed cancellation of all uses except flea collars, tree trunk injection and in and around structures such as homes and buildings.

According to the Ministry, imidacloprid detected at a monitoring site in Langley was high throughout the sampling period and, at times, was 20 times higher than the level the PMRA considers acceptable.  The pesticide has low mammalian toxicity but is know to be harmful to aquatic invertebrates and has been a suspected contributor to bee deaths.  Of concern to Health Canada, it tends to be insoluble in water and prone to leaching.

The Ministry held a meeting in late November to formally present findings to industry representatives.  The WCTA has followed up with two of the three area golf courses and the Township of Langley, all of whom reported they do not use this class of pesticide.  A third golf course located in the watershed was not implicated due to its location.