ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Several state departments are recommending several environmental measures to help pollinator species and their habitats stay healthy going forward. The “2020 New York State Pollinator Protection Plan Update” was released on Monday by the Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Agriculture and Markets, alongside the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP).
“At our facilities, staff has been restoring pollinator habitats, encouraging the propagation of native wildflowers and plants, and promoting public education to inform our visitors about the importance of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators in maintaining a healthy environment,” said State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid.
The Pollinator Plan includes recommendations for creating new programs and investing in research into the major stressors to pollinator populations. Further, the update recommends that all state agencies conserve, maintain, and expand pollinator gardens and habitats by emphasizing native plant species.
The update recommends increasing pollinator-friendly habitats, creating a “Cooperative Honey Bee Health Improvement Plan,” expanding the NYS Beekeeper Tech Team, and continuing critical environmental research on honey bees in order to protect and revive populations of native and managed pollinators.
“The Thruway is strongly committed to protecting pollinators and ensuring their vitality well into the future,” said Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll. “We are proud of the fact that since this plan was first issued, we have increased the amount of wildflower and pollinator areas located on the Thruway Right-of-Way, planted more living snow fences with flowering species, and reduced mowing across the state. We all have a responsibility to be good stewards to the environment, which includes the land and species that rely on land on or surrounding the Thruway.”
Starting a Cooperative Honey Bee Health Improvement Program to keep tabs on the health of pollinator populations statewide would help manage health threats like parasites and disease. Expanding the NYS Beekeeper Tech Team could improve honey bee health, reduce colony losses, and increase profitability for beekeepers. They also recommend developing new practices using fungicides and pesticides for specialty crops, and recalibrating research surrounding the Varroa mite, which poses a significant threat to pollinator colonies in the winter.
“DEC is actively working with our partners across the state to improve wildlife habitat and promote best management practices as part of the State’s efforts to maintain healthy pollinator populations,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.
The update also outlines where some of these actions to protect pollinator populations—which are vital to healthy ecosystems worldwide—are already underway. Agencies have conducted pollinator surveys, changed mowing practices to avoid disturbing life cycles, provided late-season forage, aided in spreading wildflower seeds, planted pollinator trees and flowers, installed bee boxes, and educated the public on the diversity and importance of native pollinators.
Take a look at the Pollinator Plan Update below: