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Bumble Bees Added to Federal Endangered List

Article by Josie Gaskey, PACA's Director of Environmental, Safety and Health

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has listed the rusty patched bumble bee as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), effective February 10, 2017.  Historically, this bee was broadly distributed across the eastern United States and Upper Midwest and its range included 28 states, the District of Columbia and 2 provinces in Canada. Since 2000, this bee has been reported from only 13 states and 1 province: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin – and Ontario, Canada.

While the USFWS has indicated the exact cause of the species’ decline is uncertain, the primary causes attributed to the decline include habitat loss and degradation, pathogens, pesticides, and small population dynamics.  USFWS is required to determine critical habitat.  However, USFWS found that find designation of critical habitat to be not determinable at this time.

The ultimate goal of the UFSWS’ conservation efforts is the recovery of these listed species and, as such, USFWS is indicating federal funds are available to several states including PA to implement management actions that promote the protection or recovery of the rusty patched bumble bee. 

PACA will be in contact with the PA field office of the USFWS to determine the effect of this in permitting noncoal projects.  Should you have a question or comment, particularly if you are in Delaware County, please contact Josie Gaskey.

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