Forest Service Responds to the Presidential Memorandum – Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators

SUBMITTED RELEASE:

Forest Service
Washington Office
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250

File Code: 2200/2600
Date: July 31, 2014

Subject: Presidential Memorandum – Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators

To: Regional Foresters, Station Directors, Area Director, IITF Director, Deputy Chiefs and WO Directors

On June 20, 2014, President Obama issued “Presidential Memorandum – Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.”  This presidential memorandum establishes the Pollinator Health Task Force, to be co-chaired by the Secretary of Agriculture and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

There are several statements in the Presidential Memorandum that pertain to Forest Service activities.  Many of these statements will be addressed in an upcoming Pollinator Health Strategy that units will be asked to review.  However, Sec. 3 (m) applies to field units now.

“Sec. 3. Increasing and Improving Pollinator Habitat.  Unless otherwise specified, within 180 days of the date of this memorandum:”

“(m) Executive departments and agencies shall, as appropriate, take immediate measures to support pollinators during the 2014 growing season and thereafter.  These measures may include planting pollinator-friendly vegetation and increasing flower diversity in plantings, limiting mowing practices, and avoiding the use of pesticides in sensitive pollinator habitats through integrated vegetation and pest management practices.”

The Forest Service is in a position to help “increase and improve pollinator habitat” on the Nation’s national forests and grasslands.  Forests and grasslands should seek to include native wildflowers that serve as food sources or host plants for native pollinators and managed honey bees in their restoration and wildlife habitat improvement projects, and on administrative sites.  Additionally, agency personnel should work together to assist their units with identifying opportunities to alter mowing and other activities that reduce flowering plants to better align those activities with important flowering periods.

For questions about the Forest Service pollinator program, contact Larry Stritch at lstritch@fs.fed.us or Kim Winter at kwinter@fs.fed.us.

/s/ Gregory Smith (for)
LESLIE A. C. WELDON
Deputy Chief, National Forest System