Frequently Asked Questions

The Santa Cruz County Pesticide Notification Pilot Project is testing elements of a notification system to support the state’s development of a statewide pesticide application notification system. The purpose of the notification system is to provide transparent and equitable access to information about pesticide applications. The Santa Cruz County Pilot will provide information about planned applications of the California Restricted Material pesticides 1,3-dichloropropene, chloropicrin, and metam potassium within one mile of the Senior Village Community in Watsonville.

Four County Agricultural Commissioners volunteered to partner with the Department of Pesticide Regulation to launch pilot projects to support DPR’s development of a statewide pesticide application notification system. The pilot projects will be conducted in communities located within Riverside, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus, and Ventura counties. More information on the pilot projects can be found on the Department’s website.

Santa Cruz County’s pilot notification project will be specific to applications of field soil fumigants used within one mile of the pilot notification community. These pesticides include 1,3-dichloropropene, chloropicrin, and metam potassium. These are a specific group of California Restricted Material pesticides that are injected into the soil and immediately covered with a specialized plastic tarp or applied through the irrigation system under a specialized tarp.

Notification will be provided 36 hours in advance. Uncontrollable conditions such as adverse weather, unavailability or breakdown of equipment, and proximity of the application site to other neighboring agricultural operations may result in postponement and rescheduling of the pesticide application. A grower has four (4) days following the initial application date to start the application.

California has the most robust pesticide regulatory program in the nation. State pesticide use laws and regulations require pesticide applicators to conduct pest control in a careful and effective manner. This includes evaluating the pesticide application site and its surroundings, using pest control equipment that is in good repair and safe to operate, evaluating weather conditions, and, after assessing these factors, determining the best timing of an application. The Agricultural Commissioner’s Office also conducts unannounced field inspections of pesticide applicators on commercial farms to ensure compliance with pesticide use laws and regulations. Pesticide applications on commercial agricultural farms are legally permitted activities that are highly regulated.

Pesticide notifications are not intended to create alarm or worry community members and do not signify there is a problem with the proposed application. Notifications are intended for transparency, to provide information, and complement California’s robust pesticide regulatory program.

Pesticides are a tool used to manage pest problems in urban, non-agricultural and agricultural settings. Pesticides can be used to control various pests and disease carriers, such as mosquitoes, ticks, rats and mice. Pesticides are used in agriculture to control weeds, insect infestation and diseases. There are many different types of pesticides; each is meant to be effective against specific pests. More information on pesticide use can be found on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website.

California operates a comprehensive pesticide regulatory system focused on the protection of public health and the environment. DPR evaluates potential health and environmental risks for pesticides prior to registering products for sale or use in California. This process occurs in addition to the evaluation and registration conducted federally by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

DPR’s registration process includes the review of extensive scientific studies on human health and environmental effects, safety, and efficacy. DPR also carries out a continuous evaluation process for products following registration to consider evolving scientific understanding. Following registration, the department continuously evaluates pesticides based on the most recent and available science and uses this information to develop regulations that mitigate impacts on workers, public health, and the environment.

The State’s 55 County Agricultural Commissioners and their nearly 400 inspectors visit and inspect pesticide application sites across California’s 58 counties, enforcing pesticide laws and regulations as guided by the Department of Pesticide Regulation, and taking enforcement action against violators. The local, on-the-ground enforcement efforts of commissioners are critical to the implementation of pesticide laws and regulations that keep people and the environment safe.

For more information about pesticide use and regulation in California, please visit the Department of Pesticide Regulation’s website.

The Department of Pesticide Regulation evaluates potential adverse health and environmental effects of pesticides prior to registering products for sale or use in California. The department’s registration process includes the review of extensive scientific studies on human health and environmental effects, safety, and efficacy. DPR also carries out a continuous evaluation process following registration to consider evolving scientific understanding.

During the registration and continuous evaluation process, the department designates certain pesticide active ingredients that pose relatively greater risk to human health or the environment as restricted materials.

Restricted Material pesticides are subject to use limitations and oversight prior to use. To use a Restricted Material, pesticide applicators must have a license issued by the state of California, a permit issued by the County Agricultural Commissioner and are often subject to additional permit conditions or use restrictions in regulation.

The pesticides included in this pilot notification project (1,3-dichloropropene, chloropicrin and metam potassium) are restricted materials.

More information on restricted materials regulated by the Department of Pesticide Regulation can be found at Restricted Materials Use Requirements.

Please contact:
Santa Cruz County Agricultural Commissioner
175 Westridge Drive
Watsonville, CA 95076

You can sign up by clicking the SUBSCRIBE NOW button on this website.

You do not have to provide a name but will need to enter your home address and a place to send the notification (an email or cell phone number for texts).

Notifications will be posted on this website and can be viewed by any member of the public. Only individuals residing within the pilot community area can sign up to receive notification texts or emails at this time.

Santa Cruz County is providing email and text notifications in English and Spanish.

The National Pesticide Information Center provides objective, science-based information about pesticides and pesticide-related topics to enable people to make informed decisions. The center provides information in more than 100 languages and is available Monday through Friday from 8 am to 12 pm at 1-800-858-7378.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Registration Number uniquely identifies a pesticide product and is required on the label of all registered pesticide products in the United States. The EPA Registration Number can also be used to find the ingredients of pesticide products on the Department of Pesticide Regulation’s product label database.

Pesticide applications occur using different equipment based on the label of the pesticide used. These methods of application include:

  • Air: The pesticide is applied using aerial equipment such as a rotary wing or fixed wing airplane.
  • Ground: The pesticide is applied using ground-based equipment such as a hand sprayer, backpack sprayer, or towed or tractor-mounted sprayer.
  • Fumigant: The pesticide is injected into the ground before a crop is planted.