Conservationists will begin forging a regional strategy to improve protections for bees and other species vital to plant pollination, starting with a gathering of regulators, land managers and advocacy groups in Portland on Thursday, Nov. 10.
Though pollinators are vital for the production of blueberries, cherries, apples and other crops, their numbers have been declining due to habitat loss, pesticides, and, for honey bees, Colony Collapse Disorder.
The meeting, facilitated by the Portland-based Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, will discuss local opportunities to enhance habitat for pollinators, such as wildflower plantings along local transit corridors, education initiatives to increase awareness of pollinators, and strategies for addressing pesticides and other threats to bee and butterfly populations.
“We hope to identify knowledge gaps and better understand the most significant conservation concerns facing pollinators, and to explore opportunities for collaboration on conservation initiatives and public education,” said Eric Mader, assistant pollinator conservation program director at the Xerces Society.
Participants include representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service, Metro, OSU Master Gardener program, Portland Parks and the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, OMSI, Columbia Land Trust, and private environmental consultants.
The gathering will be hosted by the West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District. “This issue bridges the needs of farmers and backyard gardeners with wildlife habitat, pest management and pesticide use, and even clean water,” said Mary Logalbo, urban conservationist for the soil and water district.