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Subject: wfan list> Pollinator Protection Act of 2007 Introduced into the Senate



For immediate Release


Date: June 26, 2007



Scott Hoffman Black, Executive Director Xerces Society: 503-449-3792 [log in to unmask]


For additional information contact:

Natalie Ravitz (Boxer) 202-224-8120

Kyle Downey (Thune) 202-228-5939

Kendra Barkoff (Casey) 202-228-6367


Pollinator Protection Act of 2007 Introduced into the Senate

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) along with eight other co-sponsors introduced the Pollinator Research Act of 2007 into the Senate today. This bill provides significant funding for research that will improve the security of crop pollination and support strong populations of honey bees and native bees.


The recent widespread loss of honey bee colonies from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has received a lot of media coverage. At this time the cause of CCD remains a mystery. It may be one or more factors, such as parasitic mites, disease, pesticides or diet.


The European honey bee is—and will continue to be—the most important single crop pollinator in the United States. However, with the decline in the number of managed honey bee colonies from diseases, parasitic mites, and Africanized bees—as well as from Colony Collapse Disorder—it is important to increase the use of native bees in our agricultural system as well. Research into Colony Collapse Disorder, as well as the biology of crop-pollinating native bees is vital to this effort. 


The Pollinator Protection Act is a modified version of Congressman Hastings' Pollinator Protection Act (H.R. 1709), which addresses Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).  This bill not only addresses Colony Collapse Disorder in honey bees, but also the decline of native pollinators in North America. This bill will enhance funding for research on the parasites, pathogens, toxins, and other environmental factors that affect honey bees and native bees. It supports research into the biology of native bees and their role in crop pollination, diversifying the pollinators upon which agriculture relies. 


"This bill can help to improve crop security and the sustainability of agriculture, by helping farmers in the United States diversity their pollinator portfolio" said Scott Hoffman Black, executive director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. "The Pollinator Protection Act of 2007 will provide the financial support needed to strengthen the honey bee industry and the role of native bees in crop pollination."


The Pollinator Protection Act provides for: 

*	$25.25 million to the Agriculture Research Service over five years for research, personnel, and facility improvements regarding honey bee and native bee biology, causes/solutions for CCD, and bee toxicology, pathology, and physiology. 
*	$50 million to the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service over five years to fund research grants to investigate honey bee and native bee biology, immunology, ecology, genomics, bioinformatics, parasites, pathogens, sublethal effects of insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides, native bee crop pollination and habitat conservation, and effects of genetically modified crops. 
*	$11.25 million to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service over five years to conduct a nationwide honey bee pest and pathogen surveillance program. 
*	Annual reporting to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate on the status and progress of bee research projects. 


The Pollinator Protection Act of 2007 works in conjunction with Senator Baucus' Pollinator Habitat Protection Act (introduced May 24, 2007), of which Senator Boxer is a co-sponsor. The Pollinator Habitat Protection Act addresses an important aspect of CCD and the decline of pollinators in general: the continued loss of pollinator habitat due to development. The Pollinator Habitat Protection Act leverages existing conservation efforts to improve the health of our nation's pollinators. 


Senator Boxer's Pollinator Protection Act differs in that it directly applies research funding to strengthen honey bees and native bees, the foundation of crop pollination in the U.S. Honey bees and native bees are vital for $15 billion and $3 billion in crop production each year, respectively, yet research in these fields has received little funding and attention throughout its history. No other industry or service that provides such vital services to this nation is as under-funded as beekeeping and native bee management and habitat conservation. 


In conjunction, these two bills take major steps to focus resources and conservation efforts on the decline of honey bees, native bees, and other pollinators, and provide a foundation for further study into a service we have often taken for granted. In supporting funding for research, we provide avenues to further understand the problems facing our crop pollinators, and in turn ensure the health of our nation's food supply.


"Almost all of our pollination eggs are in the honey bee basket," says Mace Vaughan, conservation director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. "The Pollinator Protection Act of 2007 will support honey bees and greatly expand our understanding of bumble bees, sweat bees, mason bees, squash bees, sunflower bees, and miner bees. This bill strengthens the honey bee basket and adds additional pollinator baskets for agriculture."


Importance of Protecting Pollinators 

Pollinators are essential to our environment. The ecological service they provide is important for the reproduction of nearly 75 percent of the world's flowering plants. This includes more than two-thirds of the world's crop species, and one in three mouthfuls of the food that we eat. The United States alone grows more than one hundred crops that either require or benefit from pollinators.


Beyond agriculture, native pollinators are keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems. Fruits and seeds derived from insect pollination are a major part of the diet of approximately 25 percent of birds, and of mammals ranging from deer mice to grizzly bears.


Why are native bees so helpful? Collectively, native bees are more versatile than honey bees. Some species, such as mason bees, are active when conditions are too cold or wet for honey bees. Many species also are simply more efficient at moving pollen between flowers. Bumble bees and several other native species can buzz pollinate flowers—vibrating the flower to release pollen from deep inside the pollen-bearing anthers—which honey bees cannot do. Crops such as tomatoes, cranberries, and blueberries produce larger, more abundant fruit when buzz pollinated.


The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is an international non-profit organization that protects the diversity of life through the conservation of invertebrates. The Society advocates for invertebrates and their habitats by working with scientists, land managers, educators, and citizens on conservation and education projects. Its core programs focus on endangered species, native pollinators, and watershed health.


For more information on pollinator conservation go to: <>  


Pollinator Protection Act Cosponsors


Sponsor: Boxer, Barbara <> - (D - CA) 

Casey, Robert P., Jr. <> - (D - PA)

Thune, John <> - (R - SD)

Nelson, Bill <> - (D - FL)

Menendez, Robert <> - (D - NJ)

Clinton, Hillary Rodham <> - (D - NY)

Durbin, Richard <> - (D - IL)

Brown, Sherrod <> - (D - OH)

Kerry, John F. <> - (D - MA)




The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

The Xerces Society is an international nonprofit organization that 

protects the diversity of life through invertebrate conservation. To 

join the Society, make a contribution, or read about our work, 

please visit


See what's free at <> . 

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