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The Effectiveness of Riparian Hedgerows at Intercepting Drift from Aerial Pesticide Application

Journal of Environmental Quality

Abstract

The primary tool used currently for preventing pesticide drift from entering streams is a no-spray buffer zone. Riparian hedgerows may provide an additional option; however, quantitative information on their effectiveness is limited. To quantify the potential benefit of riparian hedgerows for drift reduction, aerial malathion {diethyl 2-[(dimethoxyphosphorothioyl) sulfanyl] butanedioate} applications on blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) farms with fields adjacent to streams or ditches were monitored. Drift from fields with extensive dense woody riparian vegetation was compared with drift from fields with no dense woody riparian vegetation. Overall, total instream malathion deposition was 96.1% lower at vegetated sites compared with nonvegetated sites. Univariable models identified six variables that were significantly related to decreasing instream total malathion deposition: increasing bank canopy cover, increasing average site canopy cover, increasing canopy angle, increasing the distance between the field edge and vegetation edge, increasing the distance between the field edge and center of stream, and decreasing bank slope. For the variables most feasible for landowners to alter, the following increases could result, on average, in a 26% decrease in the total instream malathion deposition: bank canopy cover (7%), distance between field and vegetation (0.3 m), and distance between field and center of stream (0.9 m). No-spray buffer sizes needed for significant deposition reductions may be large, but for nonvegetated or minimally vegetated streams similar to those studied here, increasing bank canopy cover may give comparable advantages while allowing the use of the entire field area and conferring additional ecosystem benefits such as shading streams and improving habitat.

Author(s): Hancock, J; Bischof, M; Coffey, T; Drennan, M

Journal: Journal of Environmental Quality

Year: 2019

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