Faced with the growing crisis of declining bee populations, the White House on Tuesday released its strategy for improving pollinator health. Almost immediately, experts decried the plan, saying it “misses the mark” by refusing to acknowledge the overwhelming role that pesticides play in driving bee deaths.
Under the strategy (pdf) put forth by the Pollinator Health Task Force, which falls under the leadership of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the federal government aims to:
- Reduce honey bee colony losses to no more than 15% within 10 years, deemed “economically sustainable levels.”
- Increase the Eastern population of the monarch butterfly to 225 million butterflies and protect its annual North American migration.
- “Restore or enhance 7 million acres of land” of pollinator habitat over the next 5 years through Federal actions and public-private partnerships.
To achieve these goals, the Task Force developed an action plan, which prioritizes the need to expand research on honeybees, native bees, butterflies and other pollinators, increase habitat acreage, increase outreach with other federal agencies, and expand public-private partnerships.