A federal agency has agreed to restore temporary buffer zones for spraying several agricultural pesticides along salmon streams in Oregon, California and Washington while it continues work on a permanent rule.
The settlement agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Coalition for Alternatives was published Friday in the Federal Register.
It stems from an injunction imposing the buffers that was issued by a federal judge in Seattle in 2004, but had expired before EPA implemented permanent regulations.
Federal biologists have found that the five broad-spectrum insecticides - carbaryl, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, malathion and methomyl - will harm salmon even at very low levels.
Kim Leval of the anti-pesticides group says many fruit growers in the Columbia Basin have voluntarily implemented even larger buffer zones.
The EPA declined comment.