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.
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. FERNS was recently updated to allow landowners to register their property and/or water source, and receive notifications a day ahead of a helicopter pesticide application, but there are still some improvements we have asked for that need to be made. We would love it if you could help advocate for these changes as well!
Changes that would make the system work better for users
- Helicopter applications should be separated from other chemical applications in the FERNS search functions and in the GIS data that can be downloaded from ODF’s spatial data (this would mean helicopter application would be it’s own activity type in the attribute table)
- Separate county-wide roadside spraying notifications from other notifications to avoid flooding inboxes during roadside spray season
- 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)