The federal government has unleashed its new action plan to save honeybees, butterflies, and other pollinators currently at risk. While the plan, created by the U.S. Pollinator Task Force, makes some positive strides towards renewing pollinator habitats, it falls short of banning the pesticides which have been linked to bee decline.
The Pollinator Task Force strategy outlines three main goals:
- Reduce honey bee colony losses to economically sustainable levels
- Increase monarch butterfly numbers to protect the annual migration
- Restore or enhance millions of acres of land for pollinators through combined public and private action
The action plan focuses on increasing the quantity and quality of pollinator habitat through construction of pollinator gardens at Federal buildings and the restoration of millions of acres of Federal lands. One major effort of the multi-pronged approach is the creation of a ‘butterfly highway’ along the migration path of Monarch butterflies, between Mexico and Minnesota. The federal plan will create a wildlife corridor following I-35 in order to protect the butterflies and other pollinators along their journey. The plan also emphasizes individual contribution, encouraging people to plant pollinator gardens at home, learn more about local pollinator species, and rethink their use of pesticides.
While the efforts to increase pollinator habitat are steps in the right direction, the Pollinator Task Force has failed to take strong action when it comes to the use of neonicotinoids, the most widely used pesticides in the U.S.
“Countless studies have already found that pesticides, and particularly neonicotinoid insecticides, are a leading cause of pollinator declines,” said Lori Ann Burd, director of the Environmental Health program at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Our bees can’t wait for more reports and evaluations. We need to save them by banning neonicotinoids, and especially neonicotinoid seed treatments, right now.”
Neonicotinoids have already been banned in the EU and, in 2016, will also be banned in U.S. Wildlife Refuges because of their harmful impact on wildlife.
Via Chicago Tribune