[PCA] Presidential Task Force - Pollinators' listening session this Monday, 11/17 + request for written comments by 11/24

Anne Frances Anne_Frances at natureserve.org
Fri Nov 14 15:12:05 CST 2014

The US Federal Government recently announced listening sessions related to the new Presidential Task Force on pollinators.  The second and final session is this Monday, November 17th, from 1-3pm eastern standard time. You can attend in-person (near University of Maryland College Park) or you can join via webinar. I have included the full announcement below.

I would encourage anyone interested in plant conservation to participate in this event and/or submit written comments by November 24th.  The reason is that the Pollinator Health Task Force recommendations specifically mention the use of native plants and native plant materials. NatureServe was invited to submit a written response to the proposed Task Force in May-you can see our response online http://www.natureserve.org/news-events/news/confronting-plight-pollinators or below. I've also included the link to the Presidential Memorandum and excerpted the section that pertain to native plants.

Please contact me directly (anne_frances at natureserve.org<mailto:anne_frances at natureserve.org>) if I can help answer any questions.


Anne Frances, Ph.D.
Lead Botanist
NatureServe - A Network Connecting Science with Conservation
4600 N. Fairfax Dr., 7th Floor | Arlington, VA 22203
Phone: (703) 908-1804 | Email: anne_frances at natureserve.org |Skype: anne_natureserve
http://www.natureserve.org<http://www.natureserve.org/>, 2014 Recipient of the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions<http://www.macfound.org/maceirecipients/75/>

The link to the Presidential Memorandum is here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/20/presidential-memorandum-creating-federal-strategy-promote-health-honey-b

Native plants or vegetation are mentioned in Section 2 (iv) and Section 3(s.

"Sec. 2. Mission and Function of the Task Force. Within 180 days of the date of this memorandum, the Task Force shall develop a National Pollinator Health Strategy (Strategy), which shall include explicit goals, milestones, and metrics to measure progress. The Strategy shall include the following components:
(iv) strategies for developing affordable seed mixes, including native pollinator-friendly plants, for maintenance of honey bees and other pollinators, and guidelines for and evaluations of the effectiveness of using pollinator-friendly seed mixes for restoration and reclamation projects;
Sec. 3. Increasing and Improving Pollinator Habitat. Unless otherwise specified, within 180 days of the date of this memorandum:
(a) Task Force member agencies shall develop and provide to the Task Force plans to enhance pollinator habitat, and subsequently implement, as appropriate, such plans on their managed lands and facilities, consistent with their missions and public safety. These plans may include: facility landscaping, including easements; land management; policies with respect to road and other rights-of-way; educational gardens; use of integrated vegetation and pest management; increased native vegetation; and application of pollinator-friendly best management practices and seed mixes. Task Force member agencies shall also review any new or renewing land management contracts and grants for the opportunity to include requirements for enhancing pollinator habitat.
(f) The Departments of Agriculture and the Interior shall establish a reserve of native seed mixes, including pollinator-friendly plants, for use on post-fire rehabilitation projects and other restoration activities."

NatureServe Response to White House Pollinator Task Force

(1)    What activities, policies, or other initiatives should Federal agencies undertake with existing resources to address pollinator health? Please make your descriptions as granular and specific as possible.
Include Pollinators and Plants in State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs). SWAPs are designed to serve as the nation's blueprint to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered. However, invertebrates and plants were often excluded from the SWAPs produced in 2005. With federally mandated revisions to SWAPs due in 2015, Federal agencies have an opportunity to encourage and facilitate the inclusion of invertebrate pollinators and their host plants into SWAPs. Specifically, the USFWS should revise guidance for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants (SWG) to encourage the inclusion of all species for consideration in SWAPs.
Support the Native Plant Materials Development Program. High integrity native habitat is a necessary precondition for healthy populations of pollinators. Due to a shortage of genetically appropriate native seeds, many acres of federal land are restored with non-native plants. The use of native seeds requires matching genetic stock to appropriate habitats and growing conditions, while accounting for climate change.  The Native Plant Materials Development Program<http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/more/fish__wildlife_and/plants/1.html>, led by the Bureau of Land Management, is an innovative, scientifically sound approach to collecting, storing, evaluating, and producing native seeds for use in restoration. This program should be the go-to model for all Federal land-managing agencies. A national, coordinated approach can lower the cost of high quality native seeds by maximizing the economy of scale while producing native, genetically appropriate, plants for restoration.
Protect Endangered Pollinators. A number of formerly common pollinator species are now on the brink of extinction. Examples include Franklin's bumble bee (Bombus franklini) of the west coast and the rusty-patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) of eastern North America. The Federal government should use the power of the Endangered Species Act to review pollinators for listing, which may consequently afford them protection.
Encourage Collaborative Land-Use Planning Across Federal Agencies. Much of our landscape is already fragmented due to past land-use actions. Climate change threatens to further alter and shift native habitat. Conserving interconnected areas and creating corridors of native, high-integrity vegetation is essential to conserving pollinators, particularly migratory species. The Landscape Conservation Cooperatives should play a leadership role in encouraging federal land managing agencies to 1) integrate pollinator and native habitat conservation into land management plans, 2) collaborate with state and tribal planning efforts, and 3) include private lands incentive programs in planning (e.g., through the Farm Bill and the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program).
(2)    What partnerships should be formed? These can include partnerships with Federal, state, and local governments, or other private organizations, including ones that you would like us to use our convening power to help establish. Please also describe what your organization will bring to the table for establishing these partnerships.
Partnerships to Facilitate Inclusion of Pollinators and Plants in SWAPs. Including pollinators and plants in SWAPs requires partnerships between state wildlife agencies, natural heritage programs, and sometimes state agriculture departments. State wildlife agencies tasked with implementing SWAPs often do not have the authority or responsibility to monitor plants and invertebrates. The willingness of state wildlife agencies to partner with others varies greatly from state to state. Strong encouragement from the Federal government to state wildlife agencies to include relevant partners may make a positive difference. There are also several non-profit entities that could partner in this endeavor. For example, the Heinz Center published guidance<http://teaming.com/sites/default/files/SWAP%20Pollinator%20Report%20FINAL%204-2013.pdf> on including pollinators in SWAPs. Partnering with an entity that can provide funding would ensure that this effort could be initiated by the 2015 SWAP revision deadline. This is especially true since the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation canceled the Native Plant Conservation Initiative, one of the only dedicated funding sources for plants and pollinators.
Public-Private Partnerships for the Native Plant Materials Development Program. The Native Plant Materials Development Program requires coordination among partners to be successful. Private growers are a key step in the overall process, producing large quantities of seed for restoration. In addition, better communication within and among federal agencies, particularly those tasked with post-fire restoration, is integral to restoring native ecosystems. There needs to be a coordinated approach between seed companies (e.g., The American Seed Trade Association and Ernst Seed) and key federal agencies (e.g., Forest Service and BLM) to reduce the cost of native plant materials by achieving an economy scale and reducing risk for growers.
Monitoring Native Pollinators. Despite concern over the plight of pollinators, there is no monitoring network to provide accurate, reliable data on pollinator health or on the outcome of conservation measures. The USGS has created plans for a scientifically defensible monitoring program. We recommend a partnership between USGS, other Federal agencies, and the NatureServe Natural Heritage Network to operationalize a national pollinator monitoring network. NatureServe coordinates a nationwide network of State and Tribal Natural Heritage Programs made up of expert field biologists that provide boots on the ground to inventory and monitor rare plants and animals. Working in partnership with Federal agencies, the academic community, university extension programs, and conservation districts, NatureServe can draw on the power of our network to establish a national pollinator monitoring program akin to what is already in place for birds and other organisms.
Assessing the Conservation Status and Developing Management Plans for Native Pollinators. Federal land management agencies rely on NatureServe's conservation status assessments to help determine management priorities for plants and animals. NatureServe has already assessed 46,000 species for extinction risk including all bumble bees and mason bees of North America. Concomitant mapping of distributional ranges<http://www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools/digital-maps-distribution-five-pollinator-species> can provide a geographic focus of conservation needs. However, there are numerous other pollinators that have not yet been assessed. NatureServe already partnered with the Forest Service to publish Conservation and Management of North American Bumble Bees<http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/documents/ConsMgmtNABumbleBees.pdf>, which provides state of the art information for managing native bumble bees. A similar report on mason bees is due out shortly. Continued partnership with the Forest Service and other Federal agencies would allow NatureServe to complete conservation status assessments and produce reports on additional pollinator groups, such as hawk moths, miner bees, sweat bees, and leaf-cutter bees.
(3)    What commitments could your organization make that the White House could help lift up? Again, please describe these with as much specificity as possible.
Incorporating Plants and Pollinators in SWAPS. To inform the broader incorporation of plants into the plan updates now underway, NatureServe facilitated collaboration with five U.S. natural heritage programs and state agencies responsible for managing SWAPs. These programs aimed to identify conservation needs of at-risk plants<http://www.natureserve.org/landscape-planning-resources>, including recommending plant species of greatest conservation need for inclusion in revised wildlife action plans. NatureServe is committed to help coordinate efforts within the Natural Heritage Network to include pollinators and plants in SWAPs.

Measuring Indicators of Conservation Success for Native Plant Materials. Based on our experience in developing Dashboard<https://connect.natureserve.org/toolkit/dashboard> assessments to help meet global biodiversity targets, NatureServe is working with the BLM to develop ways to measure and visualize conservation success through each step of the Native Plant Materials Development program. With additional support from Federal agencies, we are prepared to quickly develop an integrated, robust system that can measure effectiveness of a national, coordinated native plant development effort.
National Pollinator Monitoring Network. With support from the White House, NatureServe is ready to partner with the USGS to operationalize a pollinator monitoring network. In coordination with the Natural Heritage Network, NatureServe can form the core of a group of pollinator specialists that can support field inventory, monitoring, and land use planning.
Assess the Conservation Status of Native Pollinators. NatureServe can expand conservation status assessments of pollinators to include groups such as miner bees, sweat bees, leaf-cutter bees, and hawk moths - obscure insects that play outsized roles in providing pollination services in their ecosystems. Combined with existing assessments of other bees as well as hummingbirds and bats, we can provide a clearer picture of the conservation status of our native pollinator species.
About NatureServe
NatureServe<http://www.natureserve.org/> coordinates an international network of more than 80 biodiversity information centers operating throughout the Western Hemisphere. Together and individually, we collect and manage detailed scientific information on the location and status of at-risk plants and animals and the ecosystems that support all life. NatureServe manages the most comprehensive database of scientific information about rare and threatened plants, animals, and ecosystems in the United States and Canada. This detailed resource tracks more 900,000 mapped locations of at-risk species and provides extensive information on more than 66,400 species and almost 6,700 habitats. Each member program maintains and continuously updates a sophisticated database that tracks the relative rarity of each species or community as well as the precise location and status of each known population. Natural heritage biologists conduct extensive field inventories to locate and verify species populations and to assess their current conservation condition. All conservation status ranks developed by NatureServe are available online from NatureServe Explorer<http://explorer.natureserve.org/>.


Federal Register - Presidential Task Force - Pollinators' listening sessions announced.


[EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0806; FRL-9918-77]

Pollinator Health Task Force; Notice of Public Meeting

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice.

SUMMARY: As part of the U.S. Government's efforts to promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators, the Pollinator Health Task Force (the Task Force) is soliciting stakeholder input on best management practices including pesticide risk mitigation, public-private partnerships, research, education opportunities, pollinator habitat improvements, and other actions that the Task Force should consider in developing a Federal strategy to reverse pollinator losses and help restore populations to healthy levels. EPA and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will host two listening sessions in order to solicit stakeholder input to the Federal strategy.

DATES: Meetings: The meetings will be held on November 12, 2014, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., eastern standard time, and November 17, 2014, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., eastern standard time.

Comments: Written comments must be received on or before close of business November 24, 2014.

Request for accommodations: To request accommodation of a disability, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATON CONTACT, preferably at least 10 days prior to the meeting, to give EPA and USDA as much time as possible to process your request.

ADDRESSES: Meetings: The November 12, 2014 meeting will be held at EPA, 1 Potomac Yard South, 2777 Crystal Dr., Arlington, VA, in the lobby-level Conference Center. Individuals attending the November 12, 2014 meeting must bring appropriate identification with them to the meeting.

Identification requirements are available at: http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/cb/csb*page/updates/2014/new-id.html

The November 17, 2014 meeting will be held at USDA, 4700 River Rd., Riverdale, MD 20737.

Webinar: Stakeholders will be able to participate in the listening sessions via webinar. Instructions for webinar participation will be made available at http://www2.epa.gov/pollinatorprotection prior to the first listening session.

Comments: Submit your comments, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0806, by one of the following methods:

* Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov<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<http://www.epa.gov/dockets/contacts.html<http://www.epa.gov/dockets/contacts.html%3chttp:/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


Joseph Nevola, Pesticide Re-Evaluation Division (7508P), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; telephone number: (703) 308-8037; email address: nevola.joseph at epa.gov<mailto:nevola.joseph at epa.gov<mailto:nevola.joseph at epa.gov%3cmailto:nevola.joseph at epa.gov>.


I. General Information

A. Does this action apply to me?

This action is directed to the public in general, and may be of particular interest to persons who work in agricultural settings or persons who are concerned about pollinator health. You may be potentially affected by this action if you belong to any of the following entities: Agricultural workers and farmers; pesticide industry and trade associations; beekeepers; environmental, consumer, and farm worker groups; State, local, and tribal governments; academia; public health organizations; conservation organizations; and the public.

B. What should I consider as I prepare my comments for EPA?

1. Submitting CBI. Do not submit this information to EPA through regulations.gov or email. Clearly mark the part or all of the information that you claim to be CBI. For CBI information in a disk or CD-ROM that you mail to EPA, mark the outside of the disk or CD-ROM as CBI and then identify electronically within the disk or CD-ROM the specific information that is claimed as CBI. In addition to one complete version of the comment that includes information claimed as CBI, a copy of the comment that does not contain the information claimed as CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public docket. Information so marked will not be disclosed except in accordance with procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2.

2. Tips for preparing your comments. When preparing and submitting your comments, see the commenting tips at http://www.epa.gov/dockets/comments.html

II. Background

The Task Force was created by President Barack Obama to develop a Federal strategy to promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators. Cochaired by the USDA and the EPA, the Task Force includes membership from the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Education, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Domestic Policy Council, the General Services Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Delta Regional Authority, the Smithsonian, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Security Council staff, the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The National Pollinator Health Strategy (the strategy) will include explicit goals, milestones, and metrics to measure progress. The strategy will include the following components:

1. A pollinator research action plan.

2. A public education plan.

3. Public-private partnerships.

Another critical piece of the strategy will focus on increasing and improving pollinator habitat. For additional information regarding the strategy, please see:


The Task Force is particularly interested in hearing about opportunities for public-private partnerships to augment actions on research, education, and habitat expansion and improvement. To this end, and with emphasis on actions of substantial potential impact or amenability to scaling, the Task Force welcomes information on existing partnerships and opportunities for new partnerships, accompanied, where possible, with implementation details and recommendations.

Authority: 7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.

Dated: October 28, 2014.

Richard P. Keigwin, Jr.,

Director, Pesticide Re-Evaluation Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.

[FR Doc. 2014-26096 Filed 11-4-14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P

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