Target: Bridget Fahey, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Endangered Species Headquarters Chief of Division of Conservation and Classification
Goal: Thank the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services for making the decision to list the rusty patched bumblebee as endangered.
Following a five-year campaign by environmental groups, the rusty patched bumblebee has finally made it onto the endangered species list. This decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is the direct result of public pressure from groups like the National Resources Defense Council, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and input from citizens, like this petition published on ForceChange. Thanks to our efforts, full protections for the bee will go into effect in the coming weeks.
The rusty patched bumblebee joins seven species of native Hawaiian yellow-faced bees that were granted endangered status last fall, and will be the first bumblebee species to be listed as endangered. This is an important victory, and demonstrates an increased understanding of the importance of natural pollinators to our environment as well as our agricultural systems.
Primary threats to the rusty patched bumblebee have been identified as habitat loss (specifically grasslands and prairies in the Northeast and upper Midwest), pesticides, disease, and climate change. For citizens interested in doing more to preserve pollinators, USFWS has recommended planting gardens and flowering trees in yards, focusing on native plant species that are beneficial to pollinators. For the time being, let’s extend our thanks to USFWS for heeding concerned voices and taking this step on behalf of the rusty patched bumblebee.
Dear Ms. Fahey,
I wanted to extend my thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for listing the rusty patched bumblebee as endangered. This important pollinator will now receive protections under the Endangered Species Act, meaning that federal agencies will need to consider the bee’s welfare when approving development or other activities that could impact its habitat. This listing will also give the bee greater priority in consideration for federal conservation grants.
As I’m sure you know, the plight of the rusty patched bumblebee has been well documented, the last estimate placing its population decline at about 90 percent in the past two decades. Protection under the Endangered Species Act will be a lifeline for the bee, and hopefully will set the stage for greater conservation measures for all pollinators.
Thank you for making this decision. I look forward to learning more about the USFWS’s recovery plan for the rusty patched bumblebee, and hope that we will see this great species thrive.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: P7r7