conservation


Going Beyond the Bloom: Don’t Be Just A Flower-Weather Friend

Published on November 10, 2017

As cooler temperatures sweep across the Northeast, it can be easy to put thoughts of blooms, bees, and butterflies to bed until next spring. I think we can agree that many of us reserve visits to meadows, gardens, and other flower-rich habitats for warm, sunny days, so we can enjoy the diversity and beauty of Read more …


New Research Confirms Decline in Western Freshwater Mussels

Published on October 27, 2017

When we talk about native freshwater mussels (not the invasive zebra mussels you’ve heard so much about), we often start by mentioning how obscure they are, that they look like rocks and live in places where they go largely unseen. It’s true that freshwater mussels aren’t as showy as butterflies, or as celebrated as bees, Read more …


Leave the Leaves!

Published on October 6, 2017

Besides providing the right plants, and protecting your garden from pesticides, one of the next most valuable things you can do to support pollinators and other invertebrates is to provide them with the winter cover they need in the the form of fall leaves and standing dead plant material. Frequently however, this is the hardest Read more …


Post-Brexit Britain Grapples with the EU Moratorium on Neonicotinoids

Published on September 28, 2017

This article, written by Dave Goulson, originally appeared in our Spring 2017 issue of Wings Magazine. In 2013, the European Commission acted to protect bees by restricting the use of three neonicotinoid insecticides within the twenty-eight countries of the European Union. This wasn’t a complete ban on their use—it covered seed treatments only of certain Read more …


New Fact Sheet Highlights Risks to California’s Surface Water from Insecticides

Published on August 22, 2017

Neonicotinoids, a widely used class of systemic insecticides, have received lots of attention in recent years with research demonstrating a variety of lethal and sub-lethal impacts on bees and on other beneficial insects. There is also evidence of the effects of neonicotinoids on aquatic systems, with a growing number of studies showing impacts in prairie Read more …


Bringing Back Native Thistles

Published on August 16, 2017

Portions of this blog post have been excerpted from our new guide Native Thistles: A Conservation Practitioner’s Guide Native thistles are a largely misunderstood and wrongly maligned group of wildflowers. Often confused with their prickly, invasive relatives such as Canada thistle, in reality, native thistles  are benign and valuable plants that fill a variety of Read more …


The Secret Life of a Mistletoe Butterfly

Published on August 11, 2017

It’s the summer of 2009, and I’m slowly meandering down a shady Forest Service road, butterfly net in hand and royal blue hard hat on my head. Suddenly, I see a flicker of movement near a small puddle just ahead. I freeze, and then slowly start to creep forward. A few calculated (and then not Read more …


Don’t Downsize the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Published on July 24, 2017

I first visited the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in 2002 when I was searching for new sites of the Mardon skipper butterfly. This rare butterfly had populations in and around the monument, and the Xerces Society was working to confirm that all known populations were still there and to search for any additional populations in the Read more …


1.3 Billion Stems of Milkweed Needed in Midwest to Recover Monarch Population

Published on June 29, 2017

Adding milkweeds and other native flowering plants into midwestern agricultural lands is key to restoring monarch butterflies, with milkweed sowers from all sectors of society being critically needed for success. Within the past two decades monarch populations east of the Rockies have declined by 80%, with similar declines found in western populations. Because counting individual Read more …


Pollinator Conservation at 60 MPH

Published on March 12, 2017

This entry originally appeared in the January 2017 Committee on Transportation and Ecology Newsletter. Speeding down the freeway with the landscape flashing by, thoughts of pollinators may be limited to a brief glimpse of honey bee hives in an orchard, a bright patch of flowers beside the road, or an unfortunate butterfly tossed in the Read more …


Producing Wildflower Seed in the Age of Superweeds

Published on January 24, 2017

“It’s disappointing to see this problem associated with conservation seed mixes.” That’s the response from a friend and native seed producer when I mentioned the news that Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri), a highly invasive noxious weed has now appeared in several states across the Midwest. The weed was possibly introduced outside of its native range Read more …


Rusty Patched Bumble Bee: The First Bee in the Continental US to be Protected Under the Endangered Species Act

Published on January 11, 2017

In response to a petition from the Xerces Society, on Wednesday, January 11, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a final rule to list the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, making it the first bee in the continental U.S. to be federally protected. This Read more …


To Save Monarchs, we need More than just Milkweed

Published on December 7, 2016

The message is out: Monarchs are in decline across North America. The loss of milkweed plants due to extensive herbicide use and changes in farming practices, such as the widespread adoption of herbicide-resistant crops, has been identified as a major contributing factor of monarch’s decline in the eastern U.S. Disease, climate change, widespread insecticide use, Read more …


$4 Million to Help Pollinator Habitat!

Published on December 1, 2016

On Wednesday, November 30, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and General Mills announced that they were together making a five-year, $4 million financial commitment to support the creation and protection of pollinator habitat on America’s farmlands. Thanks to this funding, the Xerces Society will add six pollinator conservation specialists, who will work jointly with the Read more …


Putting Mussels on Your Mind

Published on October 31, 2016

While marine life and pollinators are the focus of a lot of media and conservation attention, and deservedly so, freshwater mussels in the U.S. are also in trouble – in fact, they are amongst the most at-risk animals in the U.S. More than seventy percent of all species of North American freshwater mussels are considered Read more …


Pollinator Conservation in Agriculture

Published on September 9, 2016

Recently, conservationists have been discussing the role of agriculture in helping pollinators—and for good reason. About half of the U.S. land base is in agriculture. If we want to truly provide for a long-term future for pollinators, we must work with farmers. Farms come in all shapes and sizes, from small, family-run operations to vast Read more …


Scanning the Horizon for Pollinator Threats and Opportunities

Published on August 9, 2016

The global fate of pollinators rests firmly in the hands of Big Ag according to research published in the journal PeerJ, which identified the most serious future threats and opportunities facing pollinating species. A horizon scan of future threats and opportunities for pollinators and pollination was authored by an international team of scientists and conservationists Read more …


Monarch Butterflies in the Western United States

Published on July 20, 2016

The monarch butterfly has received a lot of attention in the last couple of years. Much of that has focused on the population that migrates through eastern North America, as far north as Ontario, and the problems facing the overwintering grounds in Mexico. Monarchs also breed in the western U.S. and research shows that they Read more …


Monarch & Milkweed Workshops Engage Public Land Managers in Western States

Published on

The Xerces Society recently held two workshops in Washington and Idaho to train regional land managers, including staff from state fish and wildlife agencies and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), in surveying for monarchs and milkweed in western states and learning about conservation of the western monarch. The workshops are a part of Read more …


Senator Merkley Unveils New Proposal to Help Restore Pollinator Populations Across the U.S.

Published on June 23, 2016

Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley has unveiled a new proposal to help restore pollinator populations across America. Released during National Pollinator Week, The Pollinator Recovery Act of 2016 discussion draft will provide the public and stakeholders with the opportunity to engage in the legislative process and comment on key policy provisions in the bill. Xerces Society Read more …


Farm by Farm: 150 Pollinator Habitat Projects

Published on June 20, 2016

Ensuring that pollinators and other beneficial insects have safe, high-quality habitat has been the cornerstone of the Xerces Society’s Pollinator Conservation Program over the last two decades. Xerces has built a team of experts that work tirelessly toward this goal across a range of landscapes, including gardens, roadsides, parks, golf courses, and natural areas, but Read more …


Partnering for Pollinators

Published on

The Xerces Society works with many partners in pollinator conservation. These partners include local, state, and federal agencies; farmers; land managers; seed companies; other conservation groups; and volunteers. We’re thankful for the support of these partnerships which make large-scale pollinator conservation efforts possible. Below is a sampling of partnership projects from the past year. Port Read more …


Helping Monarch Conservation Take Flight

Published on June 16, 2016

The Xerces Society has been a proponent of monarch butterfly conservation for decades. In the early 1980s, Xerces founder Robert Michael Pyle and Lincoln Brower worked to list the monarch migration as an endangered phenomenon with the IUCN, and the Society’s first employee was hired to conserve California overwintering sites at that time. In the Read more …


The Value of Protecting Pollinators

Published on June 9, 2016

If you’re reading this, chances are you have at least a passing interest in protecting pollinators.  Maybe you are motivated by Colony Collapse Disorder and its impact on honey bee populations. Maybe you’re a farmer who’s primary interest is in crop yields. Perhaps you’re a naturalist who is interested in the ecological benefits of pollinators. Read more …


Xerces in Your Grocery Store: Working to Make the Food You Eat Better for Bees

Published on May 25, 2016

Over the past decade the Xerces Society has helped farmers contribute to the creation of over 250,000 acres of pollinator habitat nationwide (and to reduce pesticide use on those lands), but it has been challenging to track food produced on that cropland all the way to the plate. To better connect consumers with products that Read more …


The Crystal Skipper: North Carolina’s Newest Butterfly Species

Published on December 3, 2015

The beautiful beaches of the central North Carolina coast, known as the Crystal Coast in tourist brochures, are well known to beachgoers, birdwatchers, and shell hunters. Less well known is a small brown butterfly living amongst the sand dunes which, until last week, had no official name; it has now been formally described in the Read more …


The Value of Science

Published on December 1, 2015

Science is the foundation of our work here at the Xerces Society. It underpins everything we do. We undertake applied research to determine the extent of decline for bumble bees, freshwater mussels, butterflies, and many other invertebrates. We work with landowners and land management agencies to determine where at-risk species occur, so we can target Read more …


All Aboard the Monarch Express

Published on November 13, 2015

Of all the butterflies in North America, the monarch can probably claim the largest fan club. Over recent decades, love for the monarch spawned a network of loyal enthusiasts growing milkweed and creating backyard oases across the country. Despite this, years of declining populations in both the eastern and western U.S. led to a petition Read more …


Pausing to Catch our Breath, Updates From Our 2015 Staff Retreat

Published on October 28, 2015

One of the most striking things about our recent staff retreat was the number of people in the room — indeed, the size of the room we needed. We now have 40 people on staff. Looking back to when I first started working at Xerces, when there was a staff of four, this seems an Read more …


Releasing Monarch Butterflies is Not a Good Conservation Strategy

Published on October 8, 2015

Breeding and releasing monarch butterflies might seem like a harmless activity, something that might even help struggling populations. Unfortunately, the practice holds the potential to actually harm wild monarchs and disrupt research that is critical to their conservation. Demonstrating the breadth of concern that exists over this practice, the Xerces Society has joined with the Read more …


ID Dragonflies and Locate Hotspots: Introducing the New Dragonfly ID App!

Published on October 3, 2015

Calling all nature enthusiasts! Do you have a smartphone and want to use it to explore, identify, and marvel at the diversity of dragonfly and damselfly fauna in your backyard, local wetland, or favorite trout stream? Well, now you can! We are pleased to introduce Dragonfly ID, a first-of-its-kind app brought to you by the Read more …


Hawai‘ian Yellow-Faced Bees: The First U.S. Bees Proposed for ESA Protection

Published on September 30, 2015

This summer, I had the pleasure of visiting Hawai‘i with my family. What a wonderful vacation! Beautiful beaches, kayaking, sea turtles, fresh pineapple, fabulous tropical gardens, volcanoes—but I also went in hunt of bees. I found bees in the gardens of the first place we stayed. But the carpenter bees and honey bees were not Read more …


Xerces Goes Island Hopping for Bees

Published on September 24, 2015

How do you restore a 50-acre native wildflower meadow for bees on an island in the middle of the Columbia River? It’s simple. Working with the Port of Portland, and seed company Pacific Northwest Natives, we loaded up a barge with a tractor, a truck, a drill seeder, hundreds of pounds of seed, and half Read more …


Good News for the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee

Published on September 21, 2015

Friday was a good day for the rusty patched bumble bee. After decades of declining populations and a nearly 90% contraction in range, it was given a glimmer of hope for a future: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a positive 90-day finding in response to an Endangered Species Act petition requesting listed as Read more …


Red Listing North America’s bumblebees

Published on July 22, 2015

This blog was originally posted on the IUCN Red List’s website This spring has been busy for bumblebee conservation in North America. Over the last several months I have been working with other IUCN SSC Bumblebee Specialist Group members to complete the IUCN Red List assessments of all North American bumblebees. In April, I also Read more …


Climate Change Driving, Not the Only Passenger; Bumble Bee Conservation in Context

Published on July 16, 2015

On Thursday July 9, 2015, a paper about the effects of climate change on bumble bee ranges was published in the journal Science by Dr. Jeremy Kerr and several colleagues. This is an impressive body of research and does much to further our understanding of landscape-scale effects on insects. Understandably, this research has garnered a Read more …


How Farmers Are Doing Their Part to Bring Back the Pollinators: A California Case Study

Published on June 27, 2015

It all started with a question: What can large-scale food production and labeling operations do to help pollinators? The Importance of Habitat There are a lot of ways for all of us to help bees, but farmers are in a unique position to make a huge impact. There are over 100 pollinator-dependent crops grown in Read more …


Pollinator Conservation Crosses a National Threshold

Published on June 4, 2015

The newly released National Strategy to Protect Pollinators and Their Habitat represents a threshold moment in pollinator conservation. Two decades ago, the issue was barely discussed. When Xerces staff attended a national meeting of the pioneering organizations in 1996, it could be held around a single conference table. Ten years ago, interest had grown and Read more …


Help Protect Our Beloved Butterflies

Published on May 29, 2015

Monarch butterflies are among North America’s most loved species. Growing up in Nebraska, I remember seeing thousands of these butterflies visiting fields of wildflowers; I know that many of you grew up with similar experiences. Unfortunately, our children and grandchildren may not have the same opportunity to witness the beauty of monarchs flying across native Read more …