Catherine Winter at PRI's The World has produced a lovely short radio documentary chronicling concern for pollinators in From the White House to Minnesota gardens, an effort to make more room for pollinators.
It's worth a listen, and mentions "the White House plan to plant pollinator habitat along Interstate 35," a monarch and pollinator super-flyway.
There's other national news this week as well. CBS News reports that there's a proposed rule in the works to assist "working" beehives in EPA planning pesticide-free zones for bees:
. . .A federal rule to be proposed Thursday would create temporary pesticide-free zones when certain plants are in bloom around bees that are trucked from farm to farm by professional beekeepers, which are the majority of honeybees in the U.S. The pesticide halt would only happen during the time the flower is in bloom and the bees are there, and only on the property where the bees are working, not neighboring land.
The rule applies to virtually all insecticides, more than 1,000 products involving 76 different chemical compounds, said Jim Jones, EPA's assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention. It involves nearly all pesticides, including the much-debated class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, he said.
The idea is "to create greater space between chemicals that are toxic to bees and the bees," Jones told The Associated Press.
his is part of a new multi-part push by the Obama administration to try to reverse dramatic declines in bee populations. A new federal survey found beekeepers lost more than 40 percent of their colonies last year, although they later recovered by dividing surviving hives.
Scientists blame many factors for bee declines: pesticides, parasites, pathogens and poor bee nutrition because of a lack of wild plants that bees use as food. The new rule only deals with the pesticide part; last week, the federal government came up with a plan to create more and varied food for bees on federal land.
It's also just for honeybees, though we can imagine that other pollinators bumbling through the cropland might also gain some advantage by not being sprayed with insecticides.
Here's the proposed rule:
The public is welcome to comment on the material in Docket Folder "Mitigation for Pesticide Products that are Acutely Toxic to Bees" at regulations.gov.
According to a press release, comments for the proposal that is directed only toward "managed bees," must be received on or before June 29, 2015:
Submit your comments, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0818, by one of the following methods:
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute.
- Mail: OPP Docket, Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), (28221T), 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001.
- Hand Delivery: To make special arrangements for hand delivery or delivery of boxed information, please follow the instructions at http://www.epa.gov/dockets/contacts.html.
Additional instructions on commenting or visiting the docket, along with more information about dockets generally, is available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.
Those who wish to comment online can go directly to this link.
Of course, this step alone won't save bees and other pollinators--but commenting about the proposal (please read the document!) is a way to help.
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