Beyond Bees, Neonics Damage Ecosystems—and a Push for Policy Change Is Coming

Scientists point to the long-term negative impacts of neonicotinoids, and advocates hope a regulatory overhaul will help.

BY LISA HELD, Civil Eats

FEBRUARY 2, 2021

Honeybee pollinating a cherry orchard. (Photo CC-licensed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture)

Europe’s Neonic Ban is a Big Step—But it Won’t Be a Cure-all for Bees

Last June, a national partnership that tracks honey bee population declines released the results of its annual survey. Between April 2019 and April 2020, beekeepers reported losing nearly 44 percent of their colonies, the second highest rate since the first survey in 2010.

For people paying attention to the many studies that have been piling up over the last decade documenting the devastating effects of neonicotinoids on the powerful pollinators, the news was far from surprising. Neonicotinoids—or neonics—are now the most widely used insecticides in the world, and nearly all conventional corn and soy farmers in the U.S. plant seeds coated with the chemicals. As the evidence that neonics kill pollinators by attacking their nerve cells has grown stronger (with industry-funded studies also confirming harm), multiple publications have warned of an “insect apocalypse.”

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Noem orders agriculture, natural resource department merger

Published: Wednesday, January 20, 2021

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem yesterday issued an executive order to merge two departments overseeing the state’s agriculture industry and natural resources.

The Republican governor’s order created the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources that she billed as a “one-stop” shop for farmers and ranchers that would save the state about $450,000 by eliminating five positions. While the influential South Dakota Farm Bureau praised the move, other farmers’ groups focused on conservation opposed the merger, saying it affected the protection of resources including water, oil and soil.

Hunter Roberts, the current secretary of environment and natural resources, will head the new department.

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Iowa DNR officer dies of COVID-19

 January 9, 2021 11:51 pmTravis Breese

DES MOINES, Iowa (KWWL) – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources confirms one of its conservation officers has died of complications from COVID-19.

Steve Reighard died of COVID complications on Friday, according to Iowa DNR Director of Communications Alex Murphy. Reighard had been in the hospital for “a few weeks”, Murphy said.

Reighard was a conservation officer in Dickinson County in Northwestern Iowa since 2012. He is the first DNR employee to die of the virus.

Iowa DNR officers held a ceremonial car parade to honor Reighard on Saturday, which was shared on the Iowa Fish and Game Conservation Officers Association’s facebook page.

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Ontario taking steps to further protect deer, elk and moose from disease

Chelsea PapineauCTV Northern Ontario Digital Content Specialist

@ChelseapCTV Contact

Published Thursday, December 17, 2020 11:15AM ESTLast Updated Thursday, December 17, 2020 4:09PM EST

CTV Northern Ontario: Deer helpers

SUDBURY — The Ontario government has made changes to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act to protect deer, elk and moose in the province from chronic wasting disease (CWD) found in Quebec and neighbouring states.

Members of the cervid family, which include deer, elk, moose and caribou, are affected by this progressive and fatal disease.

While it has not yet been found in Ontario, the province felt it necessary to make these changes to protect wildlife and support hunting after CWD was found in a Quebec deer farm near the Ontario border in 2018. The disease has also been found in all five states that border the province.

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Biden administration begins to identify key environmental leaders

By Laura Bies

Posted on January 5, 2021

 President-elect Biden has nominated Rep. Deb Haaland for Secretary of the Interior. Credit: AFGE

The Biden administration will officially take office on Jan. 20, but it has already announced who it will nominate for key positions. In addition, its transition teams have been meeting with career agency employees to better understand agency operations and challenges.

During an event on Dec. 19, the incoming administration announced a slate of nominees for environment, energy and climate jobs.

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) will be nominated by president-elect Biden for Secretary of the Interior. If confirmed by the Senate, Halaand would be the first Native American to be a member of the Cabinet. She would be the 54th Interior Secretary and only the third female to serve in that position. Haaland currently serves as the vice chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources.

“As our country faces the impacts of climate change and environmental injustice, the Interior Department has a role to address these challenges,” said Rep. Halland during a Dec. 19 event, Rep. She also said that “we will ensure that the decisions at Interior will once again be driven by science.”

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