Vegetated agricultural ditches play an important role in mitigation of pesticides following irrigation and storm runoff events. In a simulated runoff event in the Mississippi (USA) Delta, the mitigation capacity of a drainage ditch using the pyrethroid esfenvalerate (Asana XLTM) was evaluated. The pesticide was amended to soil prior to the runoff event to simulate actual runoff, ensuring the presence of esfenvalerate in both water and suspended particulate phases. Water, sediment, and plant samples were collected temporally and spatially along the drainage ditch. Even with mixing of the pesticide with soil before application, approximately 99% of measured esfenvalerate was associated with ditch vegetation (Ludwigia peploides, Polygonum amphibium, and Leersia oryzoides) three hours following event initiation. This trend continued for the 112 d study duration. Simple modeling results also suggest that aqueous concentrations of esfenvalerate could be mitigated to 0.1% of the initial exposure concentration within 510 m of a vegetated ditch. Observed field half-lives in water, sediment, and plant were 0.12 d, 9 d, and 1.3 d, respectively. These results validate the role vegetation plays in the mitigation of pesticides, and that ditches are an indispensable component of the agricultural production landscape.

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