Agriculture 1 Wheat

Agriculture: Federal Actions to Protect Pollinators and Improve Agricultural Production (2017-01)

A coordinated federal approach to monitoring the status of wild, native bees would reduce the potential for fragmentation and improve understanding of their population status and threats to their health.

Year Identified: 2017
Area Number: 1
Area Type: Fragmentation, Overlap & Duplication

1 Total Action(s)

Action 1
Partially Addressed

To improve the effectiveness of federal efforts to monitor wild, native bee populations, GAO recommends that the Secretary of Agriculture, as a co-chair of the White House Pollinator Health Task Force, coordinate with other Task Force agencies that have monitoring responsibilities to develop a mechanism, such as a federal monitoring plan, that would (1) establish roles and responsibilities of lead and support agencies, (2) establish shared outcomes and goals, and (3) obtain input from relevant stakeholders, such as states.

Executive Branch
Last Updated
March 31, 2022

As of December 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had taken important actions over several years to develop a native bee monitoring plan for monitoring wild, native bees, but had not yet fully implemented GAO's February 2016 recommendation. In 2020, USDA funded a university project, with experts from around the nation, to form the National Native Bee Monitoring Research Coordination Network to develop a national monitoring plan for wild, native bees. The network's first workshop in May 2021 explored large-scale monitoring efforts and determined how infrastructure from existing efforts could be used for their monitoring effort. In December 2021, USDA, with the Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management, co-hosted a workshop in collaboration with the network on federal efforts and needs pertaining to native bee monitoring.

Also in 2021, USDA coordinated with six other White House Pollinator Task Force agencies to form the Federal Native Bee Monitoring Task Force. The task force is also coordinating with national and state associations. The first federal native bee task force meeting was held in February 2021, according to USDA officials. These officials said that regular task force meetings will follow national network meetings to help synchronize the two efforts. To fully implement this recommendation, USDA, working with other agencies, should develop a mechanism, such as a monitoring plan that would establish roles and responsibilities, and shared outcomes and goals, while obtaining input from stakeholders. Some USDA officials told us that without a monitoring plan, individual agency efforts may be ineffective in providing the needed information in trends on wild, native bees in the United States.

Implementing Entity:
Department of Agriculture
GAO Contacts