The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has published notice in the Federal Register of a finding that a citizen petition to list the American bumble bee as threatened or endangered in 35 states - including Iowa (along with two other species in other states) - presents "substantial scientific or commercial information" indicating that the listing may be warranted. This is not a final listing decision. The FWS will now begin a year-long status review of the species under the Endangered Species Act. 

The petitioner pointed to pathogen spillover, habitat destruction from agricultural intensification, livestock grazing, and pesticide use; loss of genetic diversity; climate change; and competition from nonnative honeybees as reasons for the FWS to consider the listing the bee. The ESA allows citizens to petition the FWS to add species to the ESA list, remove species from the list, and to reclassify species already on the list. To the maximum extent possible, the FWS issues a finding on a petition within 90 days of the petition’s receipt. The bar for this review is low, requiring only that the petitioner provide information that the proposed action may be warranted. 

Next, FWS will do in-depth status reviews and analyses using the best available science and information to arrive at a 12-month finding that the listing is not warranted, warranted, or warranted but precluded by pending proposals to determine whether any species is an endangered species or a threatened species. The public can provide FWS new scientific or commercial data or other information concerning the status of, or threats to, the American bumble bee during this review period. Those that may have scientific, commercial or other information that may be useful to the FWS in the year-long review can contact Louise Clemency, Field Supervisor, Chicago Ecological Services Field Office, ph. 312-489-0777; email:  

The American Farm Bureau Federation recognizes the potential impacts this could have on habitat management and crop protection compound use and will work with affected states and the FWS as they move forward in their review and decision. Here is a link to the FWS news release on the matter.