Nine fairways of a golf course located in Bellingham, Washington were treated with diazinon AG500 at a target application rate of 2.2 kg active ingredient (AI) per ha. The chemical application with a "boomless" sprayer resulted in a variable distribution of diazinon residues on the turf (associated with a deep thatch layer) that ranged from 1.0 to 6.2 kg Al/ha. The diazinon treated turf was irrigated with 1.3 cm of water immediately following application. The post-irrigation diazinon residue levels ranged from 100 to 333 ppm (x̄ = 209; SD =88; n= 8). These residue levels were higher than expected based on results of turf studies in other regions of the United States. Eighty-five American wigeon (Anas americana) died after grazing on one treated fairway on the day of application following irrigation. The brains of all 85 wigeon were analyzed for acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity. Wigeon that died on the study area (n =85) showed 44% to 87% depression of AChE (x̄ =76%; SD =7.1%) when compared to control wigeon (n = 3; AChE Activity =1.86) AChE levels. Upper GI tract contents of 15 of the 85 dead wigeon contained 0.96 to 18.1 ppm diazinon. Extensive carcass searches revealed no other avian mortality attributable to diazinon toxicity on the treated study area. Although initial post irrigation diazinon residues in grass samples were higher than expected, diazinon levels in grass samples on day seven post-application had declined to an average of 29 ppm. American wigeon appear to be vulnerable to exposure to diazinon. Use restrictions based on migration times of wigeon may be effective in reducing potential exposure to diazinon or to other pesticides used on turf grasses that may be toxic to grazing waterfowl.
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Vol. 28 • No. 2