GCSAA recognizes the importance of native pollinators in our ecosystem and their significant contribution to our quality of life. GCSAA is aware of and concerned about the issue of pollinator decline. Researchers are working to determine exact causes of decline and the association supports expedited review of the many potential factors that contribute to pollinator issues. GCSAA will continue to support use of best management practices that provide habitat through native areas as well as the professional use of inputs through training and education and the use of IPM practices. There are golf facilities providing apiaries that provide a great education platform to create awareness of pollinator issues Americans face.
In 2015, the White House Pollinator Health Task Force published its report, National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and other Pollinators. EPA’s portion of the strategy reviewed its current and planned actions on pollinators, including its plan for pollinator risk assessments, new testing guidelines and mitigation through state pollinator plans. EPA issued a proposed rule to adopt mandatory pesticide label restrictions to protect managed bees under contract service. EPA also issued a proposed rule regarding Risk Management Approach to Identifying Options for Protecting the Monarch Butterfly. There has been a steady increase in the number of “pollinator free” cities across the country and big box retail stores have been phasing out the use of neonicotinoids.
In 2020, GCSAA added a comprehensive pollinator resources section to gcsaa.org. This section provides a comprehensive listing of the association’s work toward pollinator protection including articles, webinars, case studies, videos, pollinator habitat and conversation guides, and information on beekeeping and apiaries. The pollinator resources section includes information on environmental stewardship programs like Audubon International and Monarchs in the Rough which many golf course superintendents participate in. GCSAA has also made pollinator protection a key focus area within its national Best Management Practices Planning Guide and Template. At the end of 2020 all 50 states had a comprehensive agronomic and environmental Best Management Practices program in place which included pollinator protection.