Sunday, January 15, 2017

9.1 - Not Good News: bumblebee listed as endangered

Not Good News: bumblebee listed as endangered

I always like to start with some Good News, it's sort of a tradition here, but this was not a good week and I didn't find much of any good news, so we'll have to start the week with some Not Good News.

These are in no particular order, so let's start here.

I remember the quiet hum of bumblebees being part of my summers as I grew up. But at some point it occurred to me that I just didn't seem to see them around much any more. Maybe it was just a failure to notice, maybe it was that adult requirements involved having less time outdoors in the summer. I didn't know. But it seemed damned odd.

Of course, it has become obvious over the last several years that it was not my imagination or the lack of outdoor time. And it has only gotten worse.

And now, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has made the rusty patched bumble bee the first wild bee in the continental United States to be listed as an endangered species.

To make it even more Not Good News, the move came almost three years after two environmental groups threatened to sue the feds for a failure to act on a petition to get the bee listed as endangered.

Being listed provides some protection for the bees. The questions now are is it enough, is it soon enough, especially given a three-year delay in acting, and what will be the consequences for agriculture -  not to mention the pleasure of our summers and the fields of wildflowers - if it is not?

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