Friday August 19, 2022

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Fruit grower Brian Nakamura remembers when the state started pesticide testing in the streams near his orchards more than 22 years ago.

He can point to exactly what sparked him and fellow growers to launch a voluntary partnership that dramatically reduced pesticide pollution in the Hood River Basin.

“This is what triggered it,” he said, pulling out a photocopy of a 2001 newspaper clipping from The Oregonian.

“Pesticides pollute the Hood River for second straight year,” the headline reads.

To protect dwindling salmon and steelhead populations, Oregon environmental regulators had started testing the Hood River Basin for toxic pesticides that can harm fish. And they found concerning levels of azinphos-methyl and chlorpyrifos — two commonly used orchard sprays at the time.

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