Target: Daniel M. Ashe, Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services
Goal: Support the elimination of bee-killing pesticides in National Wildlife Refuge Lands
In July 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) announced its decision to eliminate the use of neonicotinoid pesticides from National Wildlife Refuge Lands in the Pacific regions. While the use of such pesticides in wildlife refuges is relatively limited, the FWS fears the effects on non-target species like birds, small mammals and pollinators warrant their elimination. Even in areas not treated with neonicotinoids, the persistent pesticide can be found, drifting in through treated seeds and spread by small animals.
The areas covered by the new policy include wildlife refuges in Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, and the FWS plans to reach complete eradication by January 2016. As stated in an FWS memo outlining the plan, “The Service’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy directs us to use long-standing established IPM practices and methods that pose the lowest risk to fish, wildlife and their habitats.”
Studies on the effects of the neurotoxin have yet to conclusively show causation, but concentrated use of neonicotinoid pesticides is thought to seriously endanger bee populations instrumental in pollination. The pesticides are also believed to threaten bird populations, killing the insects which make up a large part of their diet. These animals are hugely important for the ecosystem and the ripples left by their demise will be felt in waning food supplies, the result of un-pollinated plants.
Though the FWS’s decision may have a relatively limited impact on the ban of neonicotinoids, it does show great forward momentum in bringing back our decimated bee population. Sign the petition below to thank FWS Director Daniel Ashe for his department’s efforts to protect bee populations.
Dear Mr. Ashe,
Neonicotinoid pesticides are believed to pose a serious threat to bee and bird populations in areas where the neurotoxins are used in concentration. The consequences of decimating these animals are quite serious, and include diminished food supplies as a result of infrequent plant pollination.
The FWS’s decision to eradicate the use of these dangerous pesticides from National Wildlife Refuge Lands sends a clear message that your agency is concerned about the unintended effects of pesticides. Wildlife Refuges across Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon and Washington will be free of neonicotinoid pesticides by January 2016, saving countless animals and promoting healthy plant life. This decision makes the FWS the first government agency to commit to ending the use of these toxic chemicals.
I applaud your decision to eliminate the use of bee-killing pesticides in wildlife refuges.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bob Peterson via Wikimedia Commons