The loss of pollinators, including honey bees, native bees, bats, birds, moths and butterflies across the country has been severe in recent decades. The loss of these pollinators has a dramatic impact on food production, especially fruits, nuts and vegetables that depend on them for propagation. While there may be considerable, and some global, factors at play in these losses such as changes in weather and climate, there are many strategies that can be employed by localities to limit the loss of native and other pollinators. Scientists point to factors such as loss of native habitat, exposure to pesticides and lack of adequate food sources as contributing to the loss of pollinators, all of which can be improved at the local level.
Following the lead of the White House, and the office of the President of the United States, the City Council directed the Madison Food Policy Council to convene the Pollinator Protection Task Force to acknowledge the importance of pollinators to the food system and community health, and to address these impacts on a local level.
The Task Force will conduct and complete the following actions/duties by August 15, 2015:
- Review available research on pollinator decline and effectiveness of strategies that could be employed to address the problem.
- Review current department practices that affect pollinator habitat and health.
- Solicit input from local stakeholders with additional information on the issue, e.g. Dane County/UW-Extension.
- Monitor the White House Pollinator Health Task Force work, using its information and recommendations to supplement our work.
- Explore public-private partnerships to help address the issue.
- Develop recommendations for departments to improve the habitat for pollinators on City-owned lands.
- Develop recommendations for citizens to plant pollinator-friendly habitats, and guidance on pesticide use around their homes.
- Provide guidance for a long-term strategy for departments to promote pollinator health.
The following departments are members of the Pollinator Protection Taskforce:
- Parks Department
- Engineering Department
- Mayor's Office
- Madison Water Utility
- Planning Department
- Public Library
- Public Health Department
- Community Development Authority
- Building Inspection
For more information on the meeting schedule or additional information, please contact the Director of Food Policy, George Reistad, (608) 266-4611.