The Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., designated the week of June 22 as National Pollinator week with the signature of a proclamation by Andrew Wheeler, U.S. EPA administrator. Wheeler is the first EPA administrator to make such a designation.
“EPA is committed to protecting pollinators like bees and hummingbirds which sustain the majority of our food supplies,” says Cosmo Servidio, EPA Mid-Atlantic regional administrator. “I am proud to work with our local, state and federal partners in reaffirming our commitment to promoting pollinator health which also means protecting human health, the environment and our nation’s food supply.”
Three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants and about 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce. Yet, pollinator populations are on the decline due to many stressors, including pests, poor nutrition due to loss of habitat, unnecessary pesticide exposure, pathogens and viruses.
EPA is leading several efforts to protect bees and other pollinators from pesticide exposure to ensure they can thrive in their habitats. In 2019, the agency updated its bee mortality data table to help farmers and beekeepers estimate how long a specific pesticide may remain toxic to bees and other insect pollinators following application to crops.
EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region worked closely with its regional states to develop and implement their Managed Pollinator Protection Plans or MP3s. The region also provided states and the regulated community with technical assistance, worked with the states for some of their outreach activities, conducted training for regional staff and displayed educational posters in the region’s Public Information Center.
EPA is also focused on advancing public awareness of the importance of protecting pollinators. In March 2020, EPA launched a free webinar series highlighting ongoing work to promote pollinator health and habitat, which will continue through September 2020. This week the agency also renewed its memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Pollinator Partnership, a nonprofit organization that facilitates actions that benefit pollinator habitats.More information is available about way to help protect pollinators at www.epa.gov/pollinator-protection.