Entry and toxicity of organic pesticides and copper in vineyard streams: Erosion rills jeopardise the efficiency of riparian buffer strips
The present study was performed to characterise in-stream pesticide exposure within the Palatinate vineyard region in south-west Germany, evaluate the influence of buffer strip widths and identify mitigation measures for the relevant entry pathways. In-stream water and sediment samples that were taken at nine sampling sites of different buffer widths following intense rainfall, and edge-of-field runoff that were sampled in erosion rills were analysed regarding 28 active ingredients of pesticides including copper. In-stream samples contained a mix of 8 ± 4 pesticide compounds, resulting in total pesticide concentrations of 1.4–8.9 g l−1 for water and 16–670 g kg−1 dw for sediment. Following an exceptional rainfall event with a previous 34-day drought period, pesticide concentrations reached 7.0–83.4 g l−1. Fungicides were the most important pesticides found and were significantly correlated with the pesticide application frequency and rate. The calculated toxicity values per sample (TUmax) indicated that both organic pesticides and copper concentrations likely cause ecotoxicological effects in the field. The buffer strip width was of little importance for pesticide in-stream concentrations because pesticide entry occurred mainly via the field path network and erosion rills. Pesticide in-stream concentrations were significantly and positively correlated with the concentrations detected in erosion rills (R2 = 0.56). As possible risk mitigation measures, we suggest the implementation of grassed field paths and vegetated ditches or wetlands.