White House Creates New Honeybee Task Force

Sumikophoto/Shutterstock.com

The White House announced late last week the creation of a Pollinator Health Task Force, a multi-departmental effort for "understanding, preventing, and recovering from" mass declines in the U.S. honeybee population. 

Yes, a task force for bees. According to a fact sheet from the White House, the honeybee population is 2.5 million in 2014, less than half of what it was in the mid-20th century, and "since 2006, commercial beekeepers in the United States have seen honey bee colony loss rates increase to an average of 30 percent each winter." The presidential task force will investigate and combat decreased populations for a number of pollinator species, including birds, bats, and butterflies, but it's the bees that are particularly troublesome. 

In his 2015 budget proposal, President Obama outlined $50 million for pollinator preservation – but that's in comparison to the roughly $15 billion honeybees contribute to the U.S. economy, according to the White House. 

The significant drop in the honeybee population is typically attributed to environmental factors, like parasites and pesticides. One study found that exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides is related to "Colony Collapse Disorder," but the reliability of that particular study is questionable, and according to Vox, "it's still not clear whether pesticide exposure is a major factor in honeybee decline." Part of the task force's agenda will be "to determine the relative contributions of, and mitigation strategies for, different stressors leading to species declines and colony collapse disorder."

The task force will be comprised of members of 16 executive departments and agencies, including the Departments of Defense and State, and headed by the Secretary of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator.

"The problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment," the presidential memorandum released Friday read. 

(Image via Sumikophoto/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.