NRDC et al. v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service et al. (Rusty Patched Bumblebee)

Jill Utrup/USFWS

NRDC, Center for Biological Diversity, and Friends of Minnesota Scientific & Natural Areas are suing the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in District of Columbia federal court, challenging the Service’s decision not to designate “critical habitat” for the endangered rusty patched bumblebee. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) generally requires the Service to protect critical habitat—areas that are essential for a species’ conservation—for all species when they are listed. But the Service delayed designating these areas for the bee, prompting previous NRDC lawsuits, and it recently decided not to designate these areas at all.

The rusty patched bumblebee is a prolific pollinator, once common throughout the Midwest and Northeast into Canada. Mirroring broader declines in pollinator populations, it has disappeared from about 87 percent of its historic range.

Declines in pollinators, like the rusty patched bumblebee, threaten the future of our food supply; one in three bites of food we eat is dependent on pollinators. This is especially true for healthy fruits and vegetables, many of which rely on insect pollination. Food scarcity and the resulting increase in food prices are likely to hit underserved communities and communities of color already facing food insecurity the hardest.

Victory in this case will not only protect habitat for the bee and other wildlife imperiled by habitat loss but will also help to protect the future of our food supply.

Last Updated

April 22, 2022



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