From The President

From The President

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 20, 2014
June 20, 2014

SUBJECT: Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the
Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators

Pollinators contribute substantially to the economy of the
United States and are vital to keeping fruits, nuts, and
vegetables in our diets. Honey bee pollination alone adds
more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year
in the United States. Over the past few decades, there has been
a significant loss of pollinators, including honey bees, native
bees, birds, bats, and butterflies, from the environment. The
problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure
the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid
additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and
protect the health of the environment.

Pollinator losses have been severe. The number of migrating
Monarch butterflies sank to the lowest recorded population level
in 2013-14, and there is an imminent risk of failed migration.
The continued loss of commercial honey bee colonies poses a
threat to the economic stability of commercial beekeeping and
pollination operations in the United States, which could have
profound implications for agriculture and food. Severe yearly
declines create concern that bee colony losses could reach a
point from which the commercial pollination industry would not
be able to adequately recover. The loss of native bees, which
also play a key role in pollination of crops, is much less
studied, but many native bee species are believed to be in
decline. Scientists believe that bee losses are likely caused
by a combination of stressors, including poor bee nutrition,
loss of forage lands, parasites, pathogens, lack of genetic
diversity, and exposure to pesticides.

Given the breadth, severity, and persistence of pollinator
losses, it is critical to expand Federal efforts and take new
steps to reverse pollinator losses and help restore populations
to healthy levels. These steps should include the development
of new public-private partnerships and increased citizen
engagement. Therefore, by the authority vested in me as
President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States
of America, I hereby direct the following:
Section 1. Establishing the Pollinator Health Task Force.
There is hereby established the Pollinator Health Task Force
(Task Force), to be co-chaired by the Secretary of Agriculture
and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
In addition to the Co-Chairs, the Task Force shall also include
the heads, or their designated representatives, from:

(a) the Department of State;
(b) the Department of Defense;
(c) the Department of the Interior;
(d) the Department of Housing and Urban Development;
(e) the Department of Transportation;
(f) the Department of Energy;
(g) the Department of Education;
(h) the Council on Environmental Quality;
(i) the Domestic Policy Council;
(j) the General Services Administration;
(k) the National Science Foundation;
(l) the National Security Council Staff;
(m) the Office of Management and Budget;
(n) the Office of Science and Technology Policy; and
(o) such executive departments, agencies, and offices as
the Co-Chairs may designate.

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:

(a) Pollinator Research Action Plan. The Strategy shall
include an Action Plan (Plan) to focus Federal efforts on
understanding, preventing, and recovering from pollinator
losses. The Plan shall be informed by research on relevant
topics and include:

(i) studies of the health of managed honey bees
and native bees, including longitudinal studies,
to determine the relative contributions of, and
mitigation strategies for, different stressors leading
to species declines and colony collapse disorder,
including exposure to pesticides, poor nutrition,
parasites and other pests, toxins, loss of habitat and
reduced natural forage, pathogens, and unsustainable
management practices;

(ii) plans for expanded collection and sharing of
data related to pollinator losses, technologies for
continuous monitoring of honey bee hive health, and
use of public-private partnerships, as appropriate,
to provide information on the status and trends of
managed hive losses;

(iii) assessments of the status of native
pollinators, including the Monarch butterfly and
bees, and modeling of native pollinator populations
and habitats

(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;

(v) identification of existing and new methods
and best practices to reduce pollinator exposure to
pesticides, and new cost-effective ways to control
bee pests and diseases; and

(vi) strategies for targeting resources toward areas
of high risk and restoration potential and
prioritizing plans for restoration of pollinator
habitat, based on those areas that will yield the
greatest expected net benefits.

(b) Public Education Plan. The Strategy shall include
plans for expanding and coordinating public education programs
outlining steps individuals and businesses can take to help
address the loss of pollinators. It shall also include
recommendations for a coordinated public education campaign
aimed at individuals, corporations, small businesses, schools,
libraries, and museums to significantly increase public
awareness of the importance of pollinators and the steps that
can be taken to protect them.

(c) Public-Private Partnerships. The Strategy shall
include recommendations for developing public-private
partnerships to build on Federal efforts to encourage the
protection of pollinators and increase the quality and amount
of habitat and forage for pollinators. In developing this part
of the Strategy, the Task Force shall consult with external
stakeholders, including State, tribal, and local governments,
farmers, corporations, and nongovernmental organizations.

(d) Task Force member agencies shall report regularly to
the Task Force on their efforts to implement section 3 of this

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

(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.

(b) Task Force member agencies shall evaluate permit
and management practices on power line, pipeline, utility,
and other rights-of-way and easements, and, consistent with
applicable law, make any necessary and appropriate changes
to enhance pollinator habitat on Federal lands through the
use of integrated vegetation and pest management and
pollinator-friendly best management practices, and by
supplementing existing agreements and memoranda of understanding
with rights-of-way holders, where appropriate, to establish and
improve pollinator habitat.

(c) Task Force member agencies shall incorporate
pollinator health as a component of all future restoration and
reclamation projects, as appropriate, including all annual
restoration plans.

(d) The Council on Environmental Quality and the General
Services Administration shall, within 90 days of the date of
this memorandum, revise their respective guidance documents for
designed landscapes and public buildings to incorporate, as
appropriate, pollinator-friendly practices into site landscape
performance requirements to create and maintain high quality
habitats for pollinators. Future landscaping projects at all
Federal facilities shall, to the maximum extent appropriate, use
plants beneficial to pollinators.

(e) The Departments of Agriculture and the Interior shall,
within 90 days of the date of this memorandum, develop best
management practices for executive departments and agencies to
enhance pollinator habitat on Federal lands.

(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.

(g) The Department of Agriculture shall, as appropriate
and consistent with applicable law, substantially increase
both the acreage and forage value of pollinator habitat in the
Department’s conservation programs, including the Conservation
Reserve Program, and provide technical assistance, through
collaboration with the land-grant university-based cooperative
extension services, to executive departments and agencies,
State, local, and tribal governments, and other entities and
individuals, including farmers and ranchers, in planting the
most suitable pollinator-friendly habitats.

(h) The Department of the Interior shall assist States
and State wildlife organizations, as appropriate, in identifying
and implementing projects to conserve pollinators at risk of
endangerment and further pollinator conservation through the
revision and implementation of individual State Wildlife Action
Plans. The Department of the Interior shall, upon request,
provide technical support for these efforts, and keep the
Task Force apprised of such collaborations.

(i) The Department of Transportation shall evaluate its current guidance for grantees and informational resources to identify opportunities to increase pollinator habitat along roadways and implement improvements, as appropriate. The Department of Transportation shall work with State Departments of Transportation and transportation associations to promote pollinator-friendly practices and corridors. The Department of Transportation shall evaluate opportunities to make railways, pipelines, and transportation facilities that are privately owned and operated aware of the need to increase pollinator habitat.

(j) The Department of Defense shall, consistent with
law and the availability of appropriations, support habitat
restoration projects for pollinators, and shall direct military
service installations to use, when possible, pollinator-friendly
native landscaping and minimize use of pesticides harmful to
pollinators through integrated vegetation and pest management

(k) The Army Corps of Engineers shall incorporate
conservation practices for pollinator habitat improvement on
the 12 million acres of lands and waters at resource development
projects across the country, as appropriate.

(l) The Environmental Protection Agency shall assess
the effect of pesticides, including neonicotinoids, on bee and
other pollinator health and take action, as appropriate, to
protect pollinators; engage State and tribal environmental,
agricultural, and wildlife agencies in the development of
State and tribal pollinator protection plans; encourage the
incorporation of pollinator protection and habitat planting
activities into green infrastructure and Superfund projects; and
expedite review of registration applications for new products
targeting pests harmful to pollinators.

(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.

Sec. 4. General Provisions
(a) This memorandum shall
be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to
the availability of appropriations.

(b) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to
impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to any agency, or
the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of
Management and Budget relating to budgetary,
administrative, or legislative proposals.

(c) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to
require the disclosure of confidential business information or
trade secrets, classified information, law enforcement sensitive
information, or other information that must be protected in the
interest of national security or public safety.

(d) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not,
create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural,
enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the
United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its
officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

(e) The Secretary of Agriculture is hereby authorized and
directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.