White House Releases Historic Strategy to Protect Pollinators and Their Habitat

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

CONTACT: Scott Hoffman Black, Executive Director, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation (503) 449-3792, sblack@xerces.org

White House Releases Historic Strategy to Protect Pollinators and Their Habitat

The Xerces Society applauds this effort and hopes it will lead to better habitat protection and management as well as better regulation of pesticides

PORTLAND, Ore.—The Xerces Society applauds the White House for the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators released today. Pollinators are an essential part of both productive agriculture and a healthy environment and the White House’s action places their protection squarely on the national stage. Protecting, restoring, and enhancing habitat for bees and butterflies, including the monarch, is a major focus of this national strategy.

“Pollinator conservation is an issue of national importance and I am very pleased that the White House has taken a leadership role,” said Scott Hoffman Black, executive director of the Xerces Society and an ex officio member of the U.S. Monarch Butterfly High Level Working Group. “The success of this strategy lies in adequate funding and appropriate implementation. We will continue to work with and support the White House and federal agencies as they move forward.”

The Xerces Society has long-established partnerships with several of the key federal agencies tasked with implementing the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. Our work includes:

  • A team of pollinator specialists working jointly with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to provide technical support and training to NRCS staff nationwide;
  • Conservation biologist working jointly with the Fish and Wildlife Service on the conservation of monarch butterflies and milkweeds in the Pacific Northwest;
  • Multi-year partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to manage land for rare butterflies, work which led to the partners receiving the Wings Across the Americas 2012 Butterfly Conservation Award;
  • Collaboration with NatureServe to write a report, “Conservation Status and Ecology of the Monarch Butterfly in the United States,” for the U.S. Forest Service;
  • Participation in the U.S. Geological Survey Powell Center Monarch Butterfly Workshop to work toward a conservation plan for the monarch; and Membership of the U.S. Monarch Butterfly High Level Working Group.

“Working closely with the NRCS and other agencies has shown me that these agencies are full of highly skilled and motivated staff,” noted Mace Vaughan, pollinator program co-director at the Xerces Society and Joint Pollinator Conservation Specialist at the NRCS. “I am confident that implementation of the White House strategy will be in good hands.”

One area where the pollinator strategy falls short is protecting pollinators from pesticides, especially systemic insecticides like neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are the most widely used insecticides in the world and there are demonstrated links between their use and declines in bees and other wildlife. The Xerces Society had hoped that the Environmental Protection Agency would take strong comprehensive action to address the risk that these insecticides pose to pollinators.

“The national strategy includes valuable long-term plans that could, over time, strengthen the pesticide regulatory system,” stated Xerces Society pesticide program coordinator Aimee Code. “But, it fails to offer pesticide mitigations to address issues currently facing pollinators.”

For over forty years, the Xerces Society has worked to protect invertebrates and their habitat, and in the last twenty years has built an internationally respected pollinator conservation program. The Society now has the largest pollinator conservation team in the world.

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Images

The images below can be used by any media outlet. Please include a photo credit with any use.

Bumble bee

Credit: Bumble bee by Mace Vaughan, The Xerces Society.

Oregon garden with pollinator habitat

Credit: Oregon garden with pollinator habitat by Eric Lee-Mader, The Xerces Society.

Montana pollinator habitat on farm

Credit: Pollinator habitat on a Montana farm by Jennifer Hopwood, The Xerces Society.

Pollinator habitat on an Oklahoma farm

Credit: Pollinator habitat on an Oklahoma farm by Jennifer Hopwood, The Xerces Society.

Bee monitoring workshop in Oregon

Credit: Jessa Cruz, Xerces’ senior pollinator conservation specialist in California, leads a group during a bee monitoring workshop. Photo by Matthew Shepherd, The Xerces Society.

Pollinator habitat in California

Credit: Pollinator habitat at the Lockeford Plant Materials Center in Lockeford, CA. Photo by Jim Cairns, USDA-NRCS.

Monarchs Clustering on Monterey Pine at Point Lobos Nature Reserve

Credit: Monarchs Clustering on Monterey Pine at Point Lobos Nature Reserve by Carly Voight/The Xerces Society.

Pollinator habitat in an Oregon garden

Credit: Pollinator habitat sign in an Oregon front yard. Photo by Matthew Shepherd, The Xerces Society.

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For More Information

Xerces Society Pollinator Conservation Achievements

Xerces Pollinator Conservation Program

Bring Back the Pollinators campaign

Monarch Conservation

Bumble Bee Conservation

Reducing the impact of pesticides

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation Protecting the Life that Sustains Us

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. Established in 1971, the Society is at the forefront of invertebrate protection, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to implement conservation programs worldwide. Over the last two decades, the Society has built an internationally respected pollinator conservation program that works with farmers, land managers, and agencies on three continents. To learn more about the Society’s work, please visit www.xerces.org.