Barrage fishponds: Reduction of pesticide concentration peaks and associated risk of adverse ecological effects in headwater streams

J Environ Manage. 2016 Mar 15:169:261-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2015.12.035. Epub 2016 Jan 12.


Constructed wetlands have been suggested as pesticide risk mitigation measures. Yet, in many agricultural areas, ponds or shallow lakes are already present and may contribute to the control of non-point source contamination by pesticides. In order to test this hypothesis, we investigated the influence of extensively managed barrage fishponds (n = 3) on the dissolved concentrations of 100 pesticides in headwater streams over the course of a year. Among the 100 pesticides, 50 different substances were detected upstream and 48 downstream. Highest measured concentration upstream was 26.5 μg/L (2-methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid, MCPA) and 5.19 μg/L (isoproturon) downstream. Fishponds were found to reduce peak exposure levels as high pesticide concentrations (defined here as ≥ 1 μg/L) generally decreased by more than 90% between upstream and downstream sampling sites. The measured concentrations in the investigated streams were compared to laboratory toxicity data for standard test organisms (algae, invertebrates and fish) using the toxic unit approach. When considering the threshold levels set by the European Union within the first tier risk assessment procedure for pesticide registration (commission regulation (EU) N° 546/2011), regulatory threshold exceedances were observed for 22 pesticides upstream from fishponds and for 9 pesticides downstream. Therefore, the investigated barrage fishponds contributed to the reduction of pesticide peak concentrations and potential risk of adverse effects for downstream ecosystems.

Keywords: Fish ponds; Headwater streams; Pesticide; Shallow lakes; Toxic units.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquaculture
  • Ecosystem
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Fishes / metabolism
  • Invertebrates / metabolism
  • Pesticides / analysis*
  • Pesticides / chemistry
  • Risk Assessment
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / chemistry
  • Wetlands


  • Pesticides
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical