FOOTPRINT, an EU project for pesticide risk assessment and management.
FOOTPRINT was a research project in the 6th Framework Programme which developed a suite of three pesticide risk prediction and management tools, for use by three different end-user communities: - farmers and extension advisors at the farm scale; - water managers at the catchment scale; and - policy makers/registration authorities at the national/EU scale. The tools were based on state-of-the-art knowledge of processes, factors and landscape attributes influencing pesticide fate in the environment and integrate innovative components that allow users to: - identify the dominant contamination pathways and sources of pesticide contamination in the landscape; - estimate pesticide concentrations in local groundwater resources and surface water abstraction sources; - make scientifically-based assessments of how the implementation of mitigation strategies will reduce pesticide contamination of adjacent water resources. The three tools share the same overall philosophy and underlying science and therefore provide a coherent and integrated solution to pesticide risk assessment and risk reduction at the various scales. The tools developed within FOOTPRINT allow stakeholders to make consistent and robust assessments of risk of contamination to water bodies relevant to management, mitigation and regulation (i.e. field/farm, catchment and national/EU). In particular, they allow pesticide users to assess whether their pesticide practices ensure the protection of local water bodies, and provide site-specific mitigation recommendations. The FOOTPRINT tools are expected to make a direct contribution to the revision of the Council Directive 91/414/EEC, the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and the future Thematic Strategy on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides.