A federal task force appointed last year has released its strategy to help save declining bee populations. Bees, along with other insects, bats, and birds, play an important role in agriculture by pollinating crops, but they’ve been dying off in numbers that beekeepers say aren’t economically sustainable.
The task force’s plan includes guidelines from the Department of the Interior and the USDA, which would require federal agencies to plant bee-friendly plants on their properties, ranging from national parks to office landscaping. It also emphasizes collaboration between federal agencies, state and local governments, and the private sector to expand pollinator habitat and increase the availability of food sources. Additionally, it asks for an additional $34 million in funding for pollinator research in an effort to better understand the factors behind the decline in bee populations. That effort will include further EPA studies into neonicotinoid pesticides, which have been linked to bee die-offs.
The U.S. government is also cooperating with the government of Mexico to expand habitat for monarch butterflies, who spend their winters in Mexico but are also important pollinators for U.S. crops.