With the recent Presidential Memorandum—Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators—pollinator conservation is at the forefront of many federal agencies’ to-do lists. The U.S. Geological Survey has recently joined forces with the Monarch Joint Venture to use science to help strengthen monarch conservation in the U.S. We are excited to welcome them to the partnership!
The USGS is the research arm of the Department of the Interior. They conduct research on topics of interest to DOI land management agencies, other federal agencies, states, tribes, and municipalities. MJV will be involved in guiding monarch-related science and research activities conducted by the USGS -- an extremely valuable asset to MJV-supported activities. As a science-based organization, we look forward to exploring new avenues of monarch (and milkweed/habitat) research. In particular, USGS has innovative expertise in areas such as population ecology, wildlife monitoring, wildlife disease, toxicology, species-habitat interactions, geospatial sciences, conservation genetics, and adaptive management. They recently released a study on neonicotinoid insecticides in the Midwest, reporting that all nine rivers and streams (including the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers) studied contained chemicals from neonicotinoid insecticides. This research may have implications for pollinator conservation; read more on this study here.
The Department of the Interior has appointed USGS as the lead DOI Bureau on implementing the Presidential Memorandum as interest has increased from DOI, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and other high level offices. They have coordinated with Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and others to develop plans for monarch and pollinator conservation actions and expect this coordination to continue for some time.
USGS works with numerous science and land management partners to inform conservation. Steve Hilburger, USGS Science Advisor for Wildlife, says, “Our research is most rigorous when we work with scientific partners who collaborate, engage, and review; to be relevant, scientific results must be useful for conservation partners, policy makers, and resource managers. Many of our science programs are designed specifically to inform the management needs of FWS, NPS, and BLM.
Read more about USGS ecosystems research on their website: http://www.usgs.gov/ecosystems/