WHERE and WHEN is pesticide spraying happening near me?
“FERNS” (Forest Activity Electronic Reporting and Notification System) is an online notification system managed by ODF to alert the public of forestry events occurring on private or state land. You can subscribe to be notified of any spray operations happening near you by creating an account and subscription on the FERNS website, which will provide you with information on who/what/where is being sprayed, and give you an opportunity to comment on the operations and contact the project administrator or ODF Stewardship forester. Once you register, you can specify an area of interest (e.g. your home) and activity. For any spray activity check the box next to “Chemical” (there is no way to specify aerial spray); you can also be notified of other operations such as road work and harvest (a clear-cut harvest is generally sprayed within a year of harvest, so knowing about one can give you an earlier heads-up to start talking to owners and operators!). Foresters must file 15 days before beginning an operation (although exemptions are not uncommon), and you have 15 days to submit a comment on the planned activity.
Visit our “How to Use FERNS for Spray Notifications” page to learn how to subscribe.
See the Cumulative Impacts: Sprays Across Oregon
4 years of sprays: View a map of sprays across Oregon from 2014-Summer 2020 on ArcGIS online, created using the publicly available FERNS data.
herbicide applications in 2020: view the interactive map on our home page.
If you are a GIS user, you can also download the shapefiles (updated weekly) from the Oregon Department of Forestry’s spatial data website.
Improvements to FERNS Needed!
Our coalition has been advocating the ODF and Board of Forestry for more effective spray notifications to allow nearby landowners to better protect themselves from aerial sprays. In a recent meeting with the State Forester and ODF staff, we requested these improvements to spray notifications:
Changes that would make the system work better for users
- Create separate category for aerial chemical application that users can choose when creating subscription
- Separate county-wide roadside spraying notifications
- Decrease the size limit for NOAPs
Additions to FERNS that would enable users to better protect themselves/land/water
- IDENTIFY SPECIFIC CHEMICALS: Create a place on the NOAP where the operator can update it with the specific of chemicals that were applied (on the day of the spray)
- Necessary for land owners to be able to test their water (tests are expensive, so need to know which chemicals to test for)
- REAL-TIME NOTIFICATIONS: Create a button on the NOAP that would send a 48-hour spray window notification to subscribers (especially for aerial)
- Necessary to give community members time to prepare or leave the area
The various organizations in this coalition are working in various ways to help landowners become aware of upcoming sprays near them. We are also following and supporting statewide efforts to pass legislation to protect communities from the negative effects of aerial spraying.
UPDATE as of July, 2020:
Read about legislation that just passed the Oregon Senate that is supposed to result in improvements to notifications neighboring landowners receive about aerial sprays: https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2020S1/Measures/Overview/SB1602