(1) The director shall issue or approve water quality permits for use by federal, state, or local governmental agencies and licensed applicators for the purpose of using, for aquatic noxious weed control, herbicides and surfactants registered under state or federal pesticide control laws, and for the purpose of experimental use of herbicides on aquatic sites, as defined in 40 C.F.R. Sec. 172.3. The issuance of the permits shall be subject only to compliance with: Federal and state pesticide label requirements, the requirements of the federal insecticide, fungicide, and rodenticide act, the Washington pesticide control act, the Washington pesticide application act, and the state environmental policy act, except that:
(a) When the director issues water quality permits for the purpose of using glyphosate and surfactants registered by the department of agriculture to control spartina, as defined by RCW 17.26.020
, the water quality permits shall contain the following criteria:
(i) Spartina treatment shall occur between June 1st and October 31st of each year unless the department, the department of agriculture, and the department of fish and wildlife agree to add additional dates beyond this period, except that no aerial application shall be allowed on July 4th or Labor Day and for ground application on those days the applicator shall post signs at each corner of the treatment area;
(ii) The applicator shall take all reasonable precautions to prevent the spraying of nontarget vegetation and nonvegetated areas;
(iii) A period of fourteen days between treatments is required prior to re-treating the previously treated areas;
(iv) Aerial or ground broadcast application shall not be made when the wind speed exceeds ten miles per hour; and
(v) An application shall not be made when a tidal regime leaves the plants dry for less than four hours.
(b) The director shall issue water quality permits for the purpose of using herbicides or surfactants registered by the department of agriculture to control aquatic noxious weeds, other than spartina, and the permit shall state that aerial and ground broadcast applications may not be made when the wind speed exceeds ten miles per hour.
(c) The director shall issue water quality permits for the experimental use of herbicides on aquatic sites, as defined in 40 C.F.R. Sec. 172.3, when the department of agriculture has issued an experimental use permit, under the authority of RCW 15.58.405
(3). Because of the small geographic areas involved and the short duration of herbicide application, water quality permits issued under this subsection are not subject to state environmental policy act review.
(2) Applicable requirements established in an option or options recommended for controlling the noxious weed by a final environmental impact statement published under chapter 43.21C
RCW by the department prior to May 5, 1995, by the department of agriculture, or by the department of agriculture jointly with other state agencies shall be considered guidelines for the purpose of granting the permits issued under this chapter. This section may not be construed as requiring the preparation of a new environmental impact statement to replace a final environmental impact statement published before May 5, 1995, but instead shall authorize the department of agriculture, as lead agency for the control of spartina under RCW 17.26.015
, to supplement, amend, or issue addenda to the final environmental impact statement published before May 5, 1995, which may assess the environmental impact of the application of stronger concentrations of active ingredients, altered application patterns, or other changes as the department of agriculture deems appropriate.
(3) The director of ecology may not utilize this permit authority to otherwise condition or burden weed control efforts. Except for permits issued by the director under subsection (1)(c) of this section, permits issued under this section are effective for five years, unless a shorter duration is requested by the applicant. The director's authority to issue water quality modification permits for activities other than the application of surfactants and approved herbicides, to control aquatic noxious weeds or the experimental use of herbicides used on aquatic sites, as defined in 40 C.F.R. Sec. 172.3, is unaffected by this section.
(4) As used in this section, "aquatic noxious weed" means an aquatic weed on the state noxious weed list adopted under RCW 17.10.080
Effective date—1999 sp.s. c 11: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately [June 7, 1999]." [1999 sp.s. c 11 § 2.]