December 12, 2008
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rich Hatfield, Senior Conservation Biologist, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, (503) 468-8405, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarina Jepsen, Endangered Species Program Director, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and Co-Chair of the IUCN Bumble Bee Specialist Group, (971) 244-3727, email@example.com
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes Endangered Species Act protection for Franklin’s bumble bee
The Xerces Society applauds efforts to protect this imperiled species
PORTLAND, Ore.; August 12, 2019—Responding to a petition from the Xerces Society and the late Dr. Robbin Thorp, Professor Emeritus at University of California–Davis, tomorrow the United States Fish and Wildlife Service will propose to list Franklin’s bumble bee (Bombus franklini) as an endangered species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), making it the first bee in the western U.S. to be officially recognized under the ESA.
Franklin’s bumble bee has the most restricted range of any bumble bee in the world; it is known only in southern Oregon and northern California between the Coast and Sierra-Cascade Ranges. Its entire distribution can be covered by an oval of about 190 miles north to south and 70 miles east to west. A precipitous decline began in 1999, and despite an extensive amount of searching, Franklin’s bumble bee has not been seen since 2006. The primary threats to this species include: 1) diseases from managed bees, 2) pesticides, and 3) a small population size.
The Xerces Society and Dr. Thorp formally petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect Franklin’s bumble bee in 2010.
Dr. Thorp, a leader in bumble bee conservation for decades, conducted surveys for Franklin’s bumble bee for more than two decades and was the first person to call attention to the decline in Franklin’s bumble bee and other formerly common bumble bees. He passed away in June 2019.
“We welcome this decision by the Fish and Wildlife Service to extend ESA protection to Franklin’s bumble bee,” said Sarina Jepsen, director of the Xerces Society’s endangered species conservation program. “This bee urgently needs all the help it can get.”
While many native pollinators have suffered declines related to loss of habitat and pesticides, the sudden decline of Franklin’s bumble bee and some of its closest relatives—including the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis)—was likely initiated by a fungus that spread from managed bees. This hypothesis was first introduced by Dr. Thorp, and has been extensively tested by a team led by Dr. Sydney Cameron of the University of Illinois—who determined that commercial bumble bees were likely responsible for spreading and amplifying this pathogen across North America. For Franklin’s bumble bee, the effects of this fungus may have been compounded by insecticide use; loss of habitat; and, given its restricted historic range, a small population size.
“The decline in bumble bees like Franklin’s bumble bee should serve as an alarm that we are losing important pollinators,” said Xerces Society Executive Director Scott Hoffman Black. “We hope that the story of the Franklin’s bumble bee will compel us to prevent pollinators across the U.S. from sliding toward extinction.”
To better understand the status of all bumble bees in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, and to encourage people to continue searching for Franklin’s bumble bee, the Xerces Society and conservation partners have launched a new project utilizing the contributions of community scientists to help map bumble bees in the Pacific Northwest. This region is home to nearly thirty species of these charismatic and easily recognizable bees, and many of them face an uncertain future.
The Pacific Northwest Bumble Bee Atlas is spearheaded by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon State University, Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. The partners collaborate with community scientists to collect information on bumble bees across the Pacific Northwest.
“If we hope to find Franklin’s bumble bee again, we need all hands on deck,” said Rich Hatfield, senior conservation biologist at the Xerces Society. “With the help of community scientists, we can hopefully rediscover Franklin’s bumble bee, and better understand how to conserve all of our region’s most vulnerable bumble bees.”
ABOUT THE XERCES SOCIETY FOR INVERTEBRATE CONSERVATION
The Xerces Society is a nonprofit organization that protects the natural world by conserving invertebrates and their habitat. Established in 1971, the Society is a trusted source for science-based information and advice. We collaborate with people and institutions at all levels and our work to protect pollinators encompasses all landscapes. Our team draws together experts from the fields of habitat restoration, entomology, botany and conservation biology with a single passion: protecting the life that sustains us. To learn more about our work, please visit www.xerces.org or follow us @xercessociety on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Bee Better Certified has grown significantly since its launch during Pollinator Week 2017. Since then, we have certified 9 farms—and now, in summer 2019, we have reached another milestone: the first product licensed to display the Bee Better Certified seal is now arriving in stores.
In partnership with AC Foods and Oregon Tilth, we’re pleased to announce the arrival of California Giant brand Bee Better Certified organic blueberries. Sourced from farms near Independence, Oregon and arriving soon at a variety of grocery stores, these berries represent tremendous dedication and conservation ethic by the farms that produced them. To bring these berries to market, AC Foods restored many acres of high-quality native plant habitat and adopted management practices to reduce pesticides and benefit pollinators. (See the full Bee Better Certified standards here.)
Collectively, farmers, food companies, and consumers can re-shape agriculture in a way that will help ensure the survival of pollinators and other wildlife. Purchasing food with the Bee Better label supports the companies that are leading the way on pollinator conservation, and empowers us to continue growing this one-of-a-kind, science-based certification program.
This is also a moment to reflect on the hard work of the Xerces Society, the Bee Better Advisory Board, and Oregon Tilth in this collaborative effort—and to thank the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for the early funding that made this possible. After taking a brief pause to appreciate this achievement, we are getting back to work, continuing our efforts to make farms better for bees.
Thank you for your support; you have all helped us reach another milestone on this journey!
Written by Cameron Newell, Bee Better Certified Coordinator and Xerces Society Pollinator Conservation Specialist.
For updates on the program or information on what it takes to get certified, please visit the Bee Better Certified website.
Xerces’ conservation work is powered by our donors. Your tax-deductible donation will help us to protect the life that sustains us.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Matthew Forister, McMinn Professor of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno; (775) 784-6770, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Hoffman Black, Executive Director, The Xerces Society for invertebrate Conservation; (503) 449-3792, email@example.com.
Emma Pelton, Conservation Biologist, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation; (503) 232-6639 ext. 102, firstname.lastname@example.org.
New paper details why we need to act to protect insects.
PORTLAND, Ore.; June 24, 2019—On Saturday, June 22, the journal Conservation Science and Practice published a paper that makes the case for greater action to curb the global decline in insects. Insects are vital to life as we know it on this planet. The vast majority of bats, birds, and freshwater fish depend on insects, and humans depend on insect pollination for nutritious fruits and vegetables. Insects provide services of over $57 billion to the US economy. Although we need more study to understand the overall scope and scale of the declines, the research that has been done provides compelling evidence of declines in insect abundance, diversity, and biomass.
“There is no doubt that a great many insect populations and species are suffering and are in some form of decline,” said Matt Forister, McMinn Professor of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno. “Although there is a need for greater investment in basic science and further analyses of existing data, our belief is that the severity of reported insect declines is sufficient to warrant immediate action.”
In addition to the data supporting the decline of insect populations, patterns are emerging that point to the primary drivers of insect declines. The most influential factors are habitat loss and degradation, pesticides, and climate change, although other factors include disease, invasive species, and light pollution.
“There are many factors leading to the decline in insects,” said Emma Pelton, endangered species conservation biologist and western monarch lead for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. “Even though there are still unknowns, taking action to restore, enhance, and protect habitat and curbing pesticides has been shown to help insect populations.”
The paper not only presents the problem, but also provides examples of success stories in insect conservation, from both terrestrial and aquatic environments spanning three continents. The authors also propose actions that can be taken to address insect declines, which can be implemented by various societal sectors including nations, states, provinces and cities, working lands, natural areas, and homes and gardens.
“If we hope to stem the losses of insect diversity and the services they provide, society must take steps at all levels to protect, restore, and enhance habitat for insects across landscapes—from wildlands to farmland to urban cores,” said Scott Hoffman Black, executive director of the Xerces Society. “But there is hope because everyone can make a difference. Farmers can add additional habitat and curb pesticide use, governments can make climate adaptation a goal, and even a backyard or apartment balcony can be an important stopover for the smallest of animals upon which we all depend.”
READ THE ARTICLE: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/csp2.80
About the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
The Xerces Society is an international nonprofit organization that protects the natural world by conserving invertebrates and their habitat. Established in 1971, the Society is a trusted source for science-based information and advice and plays a leading role in promoting the conservation of pollinators and many other invertebrates. We collaborate with people and institutions at all levels, and our work to protect bees, butterflies, and other pollinators encompasses all landscapes. Our team draws together experts from the fields of habitat restoration, entomology, plant ecology, education, farming, and conservation biology with a single passion: Protecting the life that sustains us.
University of Nevada, Reno
Nevada’s land-grant university founded in 1874, the University of Nevada, Reno ranks in the top tier of best national universities by U.S. News and World Report and is steadily growing in enrollment, excellence, and reputation. The University serves more than 21,000 students. Part of the Nevada System of Higher Education, the University is home to the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and Wolf Pack Athletics. Through a commitment to world-improving research, student success, and outreach benefiting the communities and businesses of Nevada, the University has impact across the state and around the world. For more information, visit www.unr.edu.