June 20-26 is National Pollinator Week; State Agriculture Department Releases Pollinator Protection Plan, New Webpage
State Agriculture Department Releases Pollinator Protection Plan, New Webpage
ANNAPOLIS, MD (June 16, 2016) – To kick off National Pollinator Week June 20-26, the Maryland Department of Agriculture has released its Maryland Pollinator Protection Plan – a document designed to help various bee-loving populations improve and strengthen pollinator health and habitat.
In Maryland, honey bees pollinate crops valued at more than $40 million a year, yet in recent years, honey bee colonies have been experiencing winter losses at a rate of about 30 percent. The plan – which is now open for public comment – provides specific information and technical advice to homeowners, beekeepers, farmers, and non-agricultural landowners about how to improve and increase areas where bees can live safely and eat well.
“We all want to protect the pollinators that are so critical to our food supply, but not everyone knows how,” said Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “This plan provides information to people with varying levels of experience with pollinators about what they can do to help.”
The President directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to engage state agencies in developing Managed Pollinator Protection Plans to mitigate risk to honey bees and other managed pollinators. Each state is developing its own plan. In Maryland, the department partnered with the Keystone Policy Center and the University of Maryland to conduct a statewide multi-stakeholder summit last January to identify opportunities and barriers to pollinator health, particularly as they relate to sustainable food production. The plan released today discusses some of those identified barriers and provides multiple practices that various stakeholders can use to improve pollinator health and habitat.
The Bee Informed Partnership at the University of Maryland conducts a large and comprehensive honey bee management survey throughout the United States. The data compiled through the Partnership’s annual survey will be used to help track the effectiveness of pollination protection activities into the future.
Other Help for Pollinators
- To compliment the strategies outlined in the Maryland Pollinator Protection Plan, the department also developed a new Pollinator Protection page on its website. The page provides links to information the average citizen can use to help pollinators.
- The department’s Apiary Inspection Program works with both experienced and beginning beekeepers to help keep bees and colonies healthy and thriving. Managing colonies properly is becoming extremely important since most wild honey bees have died due to parasitic mites.
- The Pollinator Partnership sponsors National Pollinator Week and provides a wide assortment of information about protecting and promoting pollinators.
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