BISMARCK – A second comprehensive, statewide survey has found only minimal amounts of pesticides in North Dakota rivers.

“The 2010 surface water monitoring program shows North Dakota's rivers and streams have minimal pesticide contamination – just trace amounts of nine commonly used pro-ducts,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, who released the survey (day). “These results also show that current regulations, use restrictions and our enforcement strategy are effective in preventing pesticide contamination of surface water.”

Goehring said that personnel from the North Dakota State Health Department (NDDOH) and the U.S. Geological Survey took water samples at 33 sites from April through October. The sites were located on the Bois de Sioux, Cannonball, Des Lacs, Forest, Goose, Heart, James, Knife, Little Missouri, Maple, Park, Red, Sheyenne, Souris, Turtle and Wild Rice Rivers, Cedar Creek, Spring Creek. Each site was sampled four times.

Pacific Agricultural Laboratory, Portland, OR, analyzed the samples for 180 different pesticides and pesticide residues. Extremely low levels were detected of 2,4-D, atrazine, bentazon, bifenthrin, clopyralid, dicamba, diuron, MCPA and metolachlor.

“Most of the detections – 29 of the 43 – were in the Red River Valley,” Goehring said. The Missouri River basin had seven detections of five different pesticides.”

The survey was coordinated by environmental scientists Jessica Johnson of NDDA, and Mike Ell of NDDOH.

Funding for the survey was provided by the 2009 Legislature and by an EPA grant.

“Besides demonstrating that North Dakota's streams and rivers have minimal pesticide contamination, these studies also show the need for regular, comprehensive monitoring of surface water for pesticides to identify trends and build a larger database,” Goehring said.

The study can be found on the NDDA website at