St Paul, MN (KROC AM News) - Governor Mark Dayton has issued an executive order that requires the state to take specific actions to reverse the decline of bees and other pollinator populations.

Pollinator populations are critical to the state’s $90 billion agricultural sector and have been in decline in Minnesota over the past decade.

“Bees and other pollinators play a critical role in supporting both our environment, and our economy,” said Governor  Dayton. “This order directs state government to take immediate action to alleviate the known risks that pollinators face. It also will create a new taskforce to study the issues impacting pollinators and recommend long-term solutions.”

The Governor’s order follows the completion of a Special Registration Review of Neonicotinoid Pesticides conducted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture that outlines action steps for minimizing the impact of pesticide use in the state.

The order requires the Department of Agriculture to immediately initiate action steps, which include requiring verification that the application of neonicotinoid pesticides is made due to an imminent threat of significant crop loss, reviewing pesticide product labels and implementing appropriate Minnesota-specific restrictions on their use, increasing enforcement of label requirements for pesticides that are acutely toxic to pollinators, and to continue developing and promoting best management practices designed to protect and enhance pollinator health in Minnesota.

The Governor’s order further requires the State Department of Administration to lead by example and take immediate steps to support pollinator health on state property.

Also included in the order:

  •         The Environmental Quality Board is required to create an Interagency Pollinator Protection Team that will develop statewide pollinator goals and report annually on those goals;

    ·         The Department of Natural Resources is required to develop strategies to minimize pesticide use, maximize restoration, and improve management of pollinator habitat on land administered by the agency;

    ·         The Board of Soil and Water Resources is required to incorporate pollinator habitat into wetland protection and restoration programs, agricultural conservation practices, and urban water quality projects; and

    ·         The Department of Transportation is required to restore, protect, and enhance pollinator habitat on state-owned transportation properties and rights of way.

    A Governor’s Committee on Pollinator Protection also will be established to advise the Governor and state agencies on pollinator policies and programs. Up to 15 members will be appointed to ensure that Minnesota citizens have a seat at the table in shaping the solutions that will ensure a healthy pollinator population and the continued strength of our agricultural economy. Applications will be accepted through the Secretary of State’s open appointments process.

    An executive summary and full copy of the MDA’s Neonicotinoid Special Registration Review can be found on the MDA website here.
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