Pollinator Protection at EPA
Over the past several years, the population of important pollinators has declined in the United States and internationally. Pollinators play a key role in agriculture, since the majority of native plants require pollination by bees or other pollinating animals.
To address the threat of diminishing pollinator populations, the White House issued a memorandum in 2014 establishing a Pollinator Task Force that developed the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. This strategy aims to reverse the declining pollinator populations through actions by federal departments and agencies.
EPA has launched a Pollinator Protection Initiative and is conducting pollinator site assessments to promote pollinator communities and habitats at its laboratories. In order to establish a comprehensive pollinator baseline, these site assessments:
- Inventory flora types
- Identify observed pollinator species
- Review landscaping practices
The pollinator baseline will be used to shape landscaping decisions that will protect and expand pollinator communities at EPA laboratories. For example, EPA’s campus in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, has a pollinator garden and a number of different pollinator-friendly plants, shrubs and trees that bloom throughout the year.
Other facility best practices observed during the assessments include:
- Converting unused portions of lawns into native wildflower meadows or prairies
- Incorporating a water feature to provide a source of clean water for the pollinators
- Planting native trees and shrubs when site vegetation needs to be replaced
- Eliminating pesticide and herbicide use to avoid harming pollinators
- Having a pollinator committee with a designated lead to protect and promote pollinators at the facility