U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Will Not Designate Critical Habitat for Rusty Patched Bumblebee

Associated Press writer John Flesher reported yesterday that, “Federal regulators said Monday they would not designate critical habitat for the first bee species in the continental U.S. to be listed as endangered, a move that environmentalists said would worsen its chances for recovery.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it had determined the rusty patched bumblebee could survive without having specific areas managed for its protection, even though its population has plummeted 90% in the past couple of decades.

“Biologists have concluded that habitat loss is not the biggest reason for the bee’s decline, the service said. Additional factors include pesticides, disease and climate change.”

The AP article noted that, “Once found in 31 states and provinces from Connecticut to South Dakota, the bee now occupies only scattered areas in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada.

“‘The designation of critical habitat plays a very specific role in species recovery and is prudent when a species’ recovery is dependent on specific habitat elements it needs to survive,’ said Lori Nordstrom, assistant regional director for Ecological Services in the Service’s Great Lakes region.”

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