White House Recommends Sourcing Insecticide-Free Plants In Federal Landscape Guidelines
Pollinators are essential to the United States economy. Honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, butterflies, and other species contribute substantially to our food production systems, the economic vitality of the agricultural sector, and the health of the environment. Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops in the United States each year, and pollination by other species adds another $9 billion. In addition, pollinators support the success and vigor of flowering plants, making ecosystems stronger, more resilient, and enhancing the environment for human populations.
Decades of stressors have severely and adversely altered the health and numbers of pollinator populations. Pollinators have been impacted by the loss, degradation, and fragmentation of habitat, reduction in the number and quality of food sources, reduction in the availability of sites for breeding, nesting, and roosting, and improper use of pesticides and herbicides. In some case these stressors have made pollinator populations more susceptible to existing disease, predators, and parasites. The status of many pollinators is serious and efforts to improve their health through action on Federal facilities will support both the sustainability of our nation’s food production systems and the health of the environment.
On June 20, 2014, the President issued a memorandum directing the heads of executive departments and agencies to create a Federal strategy promoting the health of honey bees and other pollinators. The Presidential Memorandum envisioned broad engagement to improve the management of Federal buildings, landscapes, rangelands and forests to increase and improve pollinator habitat nationally. The expectation is for facility managers to actively examine their current buildings, grounds, and practices for opportunities to transition to a richer diversity of pollinator-friendly plant species, improving the sustainability of Federal landscapes and serving as an exemplar for public-private partnerships, outreach, and education.
Section 3(d) of the Presidential Memorandum instructs the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to revise its guidance for Federal agencies to incorporate pollinator friendly practices into site landscape performance requirements. Through the support and efforts of a multi-agency working group, this addendum to the Sustainable Practices for Designed Landscapes (Sustainable Landscapes)2 provides guidance and recommendations for creating and maintaining quality habitats for pollinators in new construction, building renovations, landscaping improvements, and in facility leasing agreements at Federal facilities and on Federal lands.
The recommendations in this document should be considered in conjunction with the Sustainable Landscapes guidance, and with regard to the sustainability goals set forth in Executive Order 13514: Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance. The Addendum is an integral companion to parallel instructions in the Presidential Memorandum to the General Services Administration (GSA) to incorporate pollinator friendly practices into its guidance documents for public building construction, and to the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Interior to develop best management practices to enhance pollinator habitat on Federal lands.
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Click here to read the entire Federal guideline on this issue.