National Monitoring Plan for Native Bees

National Monitoring Plan for Native Bees – The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has scheduled a public listening session for June 28, 2017 in Washington, DC to “… discuss a strategy to monitor native bees in the United States …” – Specifically, the session is intended to address the following: “… Why is a national monitoring plan for native bees important; What kind of information/data is needed; and How would the information be used? …”

Document Title: The title of the June 5, 2017 USDA NIFA Federal Register Notice is “National Monitoring Plan for Native Bees: Stakeholder and Public Listening Session”

Organization: The June 5, 2017 Federal Register Notice was signed on May 30, 2017 by Sonny Ramaswamy who is the Director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

Source: June 5, 2017 USDA NIFA Federal Register Notice

Comments Due By: July 6, 2017

Applications Due By: Registration is due by June 14, 2017. Registrants wishing to provide an oral presentation must provide an overview by June 23, 2017

Web site: The June 5, 2017 USDA NIFA Federal Register Notice is posted at

A few days before the event, additional details about the webinar will be made available at

Contact: Questions may be directed to Andrew Clark who is a Program Specialist with USDA NIFA at 202 401 6550; e-mail:

Summary: The following information is taken from the June 5, 2017 USDA NIFA Federal Register Notice:

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background and Purpose: Several species of animal pollinators in the United States have experienced significant population declines. The most economically important pollinators include managed bees (e.g., European honey bee, bumble bees, alfalfa leafcutter bee, etc.) as well as wild native bees. Numerous biotic and abiotic causes are responsible for these declines. Frequently reported factors include:

Invasive pests, parasites, and diseases; Increased exposure to pesticides, pollutants or toxins; Nutritional deficits; Extreme weather events; Agricultural intensification and habitat loss; Reduced genetic diversity; and Changes in pollinator or crop management practices.

The loss of both managed and wild bees would have severe impacts on crops that depend on pollinators, and would ultimately impact food security. This loss would also negatively impact natural ecosystem services dependent on pollinators.

In June 2014, a Presidential memorandum directed the formation of a National Pollinator Task Force chaired by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Task Force released a Pollinator Research Action Plan in May 2015. The Plan included actions needed to assess native bee populations, including developing baseline data, assessing trends in pollinator populations, expanding bee identification capacities, and expanding collaboration between government and university scientists.

During 2015, Senators Barbara Boxer, Kristen Gillibrand, and Diane Feinstein asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review USDA and EPA efforts to protect bee health.

In their 2016 report, a key GAO findings was,

“USDA has increased monitoring of honey bee colonies managed by beekeepers to better estimate losses nationwide but does not have a mechanism in place to coordinate the monitoring of wild, native bees.”
The GAO Report recommended that USDA coordinate with members of the Pollinator Task Force to develop a monitoring plan that would:

* Establish roles and responsibilities of lead and support agencies;
* Establish shared outcomes and goals; and
* Obtain input from relevant stakeholders, such as states.

A first step towards developing a national monitoring plan, the listening session will gather input from a diverse range of people who are interested in native bee diversity, abundance, and large scale national monitoring strategies.