EPA Marks National Pollinator Week by Launching Pilot Projects and Resources Portal to Help Protect Vulnerable Species from Pesticides
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan issued a proclamation marking National Pollinator Week. This year’s proclamation highlights EPA’s commitment to protecting federally listed endangered and threatened (listed) pollinators from effects of pesticides by kicking off two new pilot projects. As outlined in EPA’s Endangered Species Act (ESA) Workplan, these pilot projects include input and collaboration between EPA, federal partners, and other stakeholders to develop protections for a subset of endangered species from specific pesticides. EPA also continues to advance pollinator outreach efforts through a new webpage that provides resources to learn about pollinator protection activities.
“Pollinators play a vital role in sustaining healthy communities, and EPA’s efforts to protect the more than 200,000 species of pollinators is more important than ever,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “This year, I am excited to ramp up collaboration through two new pilot projects with stakeholders and our federal partners including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as we work to develop practical protections for vulnerable pollinators and their habitats.”
Endangered Species Act pilot projects to protect vulnerable species
Through the federal mitigation pilot project, EPA and other federal agencies are developing approaches for identifying and implementing earlier mitigation measures for a dozen species that are particularly vulnerable to pesticides, including pollinators like the rusty patched bumblebee and Mitchell’s satyr butterfly. The project will help identify measures that reduce impacts to the survival of listed species and to their critical habitats. In turn this will provide federal agencies and stakeholders with a common understanding of how to reduce risk to listed species from pesticides using practical, effective mitigations.
The second pilot, EPA’s vulnerable species pilot, is an effort to identify and implement mitigations across broad groups of pesticides (e.g., herbicides, insecticides) to protect a particular species. For example, EPA might implement restrictions to protect the Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly from all insecticides used within or near the species range. This effort is intended to ensure that EPA begins to adopt meaningful protections for species likely to be affected by pesticide use, even before consultation with the Services is complete.
To enhance access to pollinator protection resources, EPA launched a webpage that provides information on best pest management practices, state managed pollinator protection plans, and mitigations, from EPA, federal partners, and scientific journals that offer lessons on protecting pollinators and their habitat. These resources will help empower farmers and others interested in pollinator protection to learn about and address the challenges facing pollinators.
Pollinator protection is a collective undertaking. In addition to its federal partners, EPA continues to collaborate with organizations like Pollinator Partnership to promote pollinator health through education and more. EPA also encourages communities across the U.S. to take steps to support pollinators and their habitat. From federal agencies to nongovernmental organizations to individuals, everyone can do their part to support pollinator health and habitat. EPA’s website has several resources available to teachers, parents and caretakers, and students to support pollinator week education.