On May 19th, 2015, the White House Pollinator Health Task Force published the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. This Executive Branch plan lays out a framework for tackling and reducing the impact of threats to pollinator health, such as pests and pathogens, loss of habitat and nutritional sources, and pesticide exposure. The strategy is a response to a Presidential Memorandum last June, which recognized the critical importance of pollinators, including monarchs, and the need to expand federal efforts to protect them.
The Monarch Joint Venture commends the White House’s plan as the first executive strategy for pollinator conservation, and hopes to see continued federal leadership to conserve monarchs. The major goals outlined in the plan address honey bee colony loss, pollinator habitat acreage, and the monarch butterfly population. To achieve its aims, the Task Force identifies education and outreach, public-private partnerships, and research into pollinator stressors as priorities.
Monarch butterfly conservation is a key component of the strategy, as stated in one of the plan’s three chief goals:
“Increase the Eastern population of the monarch butterfly to 225 million butterflies occupying an area of approximately 15 acres (6 hectares) in the overwintering grounds in Mexico, through domestic/international actions and public-private partnerships, by 2020.”
White House scientists recognized the more than 90% decline of monarchs overwintering in Mexico over the past 20 years as huge risk to the iconic North American monarch migration. The plan’s objectives to increase priority habitat for pollinators, evaluate and mitigate pesticide impacts, and promote public education and outreach are a national step forward in addressing the decline of monarchs and other pollinators.
In addition to the recent announcement of the National Strategy, the federal response to the decline in monarch butterflies is heartening. We’re excited to see agencies come together to protect an iconic species. Here are just a few highlights of what MJV federal partners have underway, and we applaud other agencies not listed here for their efforts to protect monarchs and other pollinators as well:
The National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators can be accessed online HERE. We look forward to working with our partners and other stakeholders to implement and further develop this framework, and encourage you to respond to the President’s call to action! You can learn more about monarch conservation efforts and Get Involved in protecting monarchs with MJV!