Rio Chama Pesticide Spray Canceled for the Second Year in A Row

Federal officials have canceled plans for aerial pesticide spraying near the Rio Chama for the second year running, according to an article published by the Santa Fe New Mexican on June 26th, 2024.

““The grasshopper density has remained below our minimum threshold for treatment,” William Wesela, national policy manager for the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, wrote in an email. “Based on this data, USDA will not apply grasshopper treatments in New Mexico this year.””

New Mexico Wild, along with other environmental groups, raised concerns about the harmful impacts of this practice on beneficial insects, the river ecosystem, and public health beginning in 2023. In May 2024, this coalition sent a detailed letter to APHIS highlighting concerns and recommending improvements. You can read the response from APHIS here.

While welcoming this outcome, New Mexico Wild continues to advocate for more sustainable and environmentally friendly pest management approaches in sensitive areas like the Rio Chama. We emphasize the need for thorough environmental assessments, public transparency, and consideration of alternative methods that don’t rely on potentially harmful chemicals.

Read the full article in the Santa Fe New Mexican.