Driftwatch program to help protect crops, habitat
The Colorado Department of Agriculture is proud to announce the implementation of Driftwatch, a web-based program designed to help protect pesticide-sensitive crops and habitats in Colorado.
"Colorado is the eighth state to integrate the Driftwatch program; it was developed to help pesticide applicators, specialty crop growers and stewards of at-risk habitats to communicate more effectively to protect pesticide-sensitive areas," said CDA's Pesticides Program Manager John Scott. "The Colorado Department of Agriculture regulates pesticide distribution and use in the state and Driftwatch will be a powerful tool to help protect the environment."
Managers of ecologically sensitive areas and owners of commercial fields and apiaries may register the area on Driftwatch. Pesticide applicators can then log in to see the location of those sites. Driftwatch is not intended to be a registry for homeowners or sites less than half an acre of agriculture production.
The site features an easy-to-use Google Map interface that clearly shows applicators the locations of registered areas so they can take the appropriate precautions and, if need be, communicate with a Driftwatch participant before they spray.
Some of the sensitive crop areas, or data layers, that CDA intends to register in Colorado include beehives, certified organic crops, fruits, grapes, nursery crops, pumpkins, melons, tomatoes and vegetables. The Department will review and consider adding additional sensitive sites upon request by growers or applicators.
Registration is voluntary and simple. For agricultural producers, it involves going to the Colorado Driftwatch site, which will be accessible through www.Driftwatch.org or through CDA's website at http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/ag_Plants/CBON/1251631971141 where they will be directed how to register their field sites, commodity and contact information. When commercial applicators register, they will designate the area within the state they perform work, which will allow them to see Driftwatch participants located within that area. Applicators can also receive an e-mail notifying them of newly registered growers in their designated area.
Driftwatch was designed in 2008 by staff from the Purdue University Agricultural and Biological Engineering and Agricultural Communications departments with input and support from Purdue University Cooperative Extension Specialists.