[permaculture] [Fwd: [SANET-MG] Conservation groups and scientists petition the USDA to protect bumble bees]

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lflj at bellsouth.net
Wed Jan 13 18:46:36 EST 2010

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [SANET-MG] Conservation groups and scientists petition the USDA to protect bumble bees
Date: Tue, 12 Jan 2010 12:05:22 -0800
From: Matthew Shepherd <mdshepherd at XERCES.ORG>

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*Conservation Groups and Scientists ask the USDA to protect wild bumble bees
from Disease*

For Immediate Release
January 12, 2010

Scott Hoffman Black, Executive Director, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate
Conservation, (503) 449-3792, sblack at xerces.org

Caroline Kennedy, senior director of Field Conservation, Defenders of
Wildlife, (202) 682-9400, CKENNEDY at defenders.org

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Defenders of Wildlife,
Natural Resources Defense Council and Dr. Robbin Thorp today submit a
citizen petition to the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service (APHIS) requesting the Secretary to take action to
regulate the movement and health of commercial bumble bees.

Read the petition<http://www.xerces.org/petition/xerces-bumblebee-petition-to-aphis.pdf>

Recent work by Dr. Robbin Thorp and The Xerces Society has established that
at least four species of formerly common North American bumble bees have
experienced steep declines; two of those species teeter on the brink of
extinction. A major threat to the survival of these wild bees is the spread
of diseases from commercially produced bees that are transported throughout
the country.

“The federal government does not regulate the movement of bumble bees
throughout the United States, nor does it certify that bumble bees that are
moved be free of diseases,” said Sarina Jepsen, endangered species program
director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. “However, this
petition clearly shows that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and
Plant Health Inspection Service has the authority to regulate the interstate
movement of bumble bees under the Plant Protection Act and two other laws.”

Bee pollination is essential to the reproduction of many crops and native
flowering plants, and pathogens of bumble bees can act as indirect plant
pests that pose a significant threat to agriculture and native ecosystems.
“It is critical that we use our managed pollinators wisely for the benefit
of agriculture and that we ensure the protection of our non-managed
pollinator resources,” said Dr. Robbin Thorp, a bumble bee researcher and
professor emeritus of U.C. Davis.

In order to prevent the spread of disease to wild populations of
agriculturally significant bee pollinators, petitioners ask APHIS to use its
regulatory authority, outlined in this petition, to regulate commercial
bumble bees. Specifically, APHIS should create rules prohibiting the
movement of bumble bees outside of their native ranges and regulate
interstate movement of bumble bee pollinators within their native ranges by
requiring permits that show that bumble bees are certified as disease-free
prior to movement.

“In the U.S., pollinators, including bumble bees, provide essential services
estimated at $3 billion annually,” said Robert Irvin, senior vice president
of conservation policy at Defenders of Wildlife.  “With some precautionary
efforts in place, we can protect our native bee populations so they can
continue to pollinate native plants and important food crops.”

“The rusty patched bumble bee, the western bumble bee, the yellow banded
bumble bee and Franklin’s bumble bee are all threatened by disease spread
from commercially reared bumble bees. Franklin’s bumble bee and the rusty
patched bumble bee may be headed for extinction,” said Scott Hoffman Black,
executive director of the Xerces Society. “We hope to work with USDA-APHIS
to enact common sense regulations that ensure these and other bumble bee
species are adequately protected.”

To read more about declining bumble bees, please visit the Xerces Society’s
website <http://www.xerces.org/bumblebees/>.

The Xerces Society is a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife
through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. Established in
1971, the Society is at the forefront of invertebrate protection worldwide,
harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to
implement conservation programs. To learn more about our work, please visit

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals
and plants in their natural communities.  With more than 1 million members
and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative
solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come.  For
more information, visit www.defenders.org.

Since 1970, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has been a strong
advocate for, and defender of, the earth's natural resources and public
health. Over these nearly four decades-which have been a critical time in
the development of the modern environmental movement-NRDC has been a
powerful catalyst for change and improvement of environmental policy in this
country and internationally. Today, NRDC represents more than 1.3 million
members and online activists and retains a staff of 400 attorneys,
scientists, and resource specialists, as well as experts in publishing and
communications, in six offices-New York, Washington D.C, San Francisco, Los
Angeles, Beijing and Chicago. For more information, visit www.nrdc.org.

The rusty-patched bumble bee (*Bombus affinis*) by Johanna James-Heinz


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tel 503.232.6639

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