The city of Minneapolis is doing its best to demolish the rooftop building to build a public works facility inside the habitat of a federally endangered bumblebee. City officials and courts have ignored environmental protections designed to protect imperiled bees and are instead moving ahead with a polluting project that the community has opposed for years. When bees are threatened, it puts everyone at risk because pollinators are essential to food production and ecosystem health.
the The community’s vision of an indoor urban farm Not only will it prevent toxic pollution by avoiding any demolitions, long-term construction, and increased traffic pollution, but it will provide green space for wildlife and support the survival of this endangered bee species.
The city seems to assume that doing a project in a developed area means it will not encounter endangered species, but rather endangered ones. The Rusty Patched Bumble Bee (RPBB) is found in (and probably prefers) densely populated areas. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) mapsHowever, the rooftop building slated for demolition is located within an area designated as a “high potential area”, meaning that the RPBB is likely to be located. Indeed, there is Documented notes Within 1.5 miles of the site. According to the USFWS, if its proposed activities any possibility To harm or kill endangered species within a “high potential area”, a special review is required before the project can proceed. At a minimum, this includes meetings with the USFWS to ensure the lowest-impact activities and applications for “take” permits, which are exemptions for harming or accidental killing of endangered species.
In addition to potential direct harm to bees during construction, this project poses long-term health risks to bees and humans in nearby communities from potential heavy metal contamination and increased traffic. Bees can be exposed to heavy metals through soil contact for nestingthe Air pollution sticking to the hairs on their bodiesthrough Pollen and nectar It is a plant that accumulates heavy metals. exposure to arsenic In concentrations found in urban environments it can kill bumblebees directly. Soil samples within and near the project site Arsenic concentrations are well above the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s safe limitand in concentrations that can harm nearby people and wildlife.
more Vehicle traffic in the city creates an additional danger to endangered bees. The queens, who are solely responsible for establishing colonies this year, will emerge from hibernation this spring and will be in great danger if they cross paths with that polluting demolition project, or the busy site the town plans to build on. He. She.
City officials did not engage in the legally required steps to mitigate the damage. rather than engaging with the fitting federal Agencies, the city only consulted a state agency, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), on whether there are any endangered species listed in the state at the site and fails to follow the DNR’s recommendation to consult the USFWS for any Federally Listed species that may be present in the area.
At a meeting last summer, the Minneapolis Director of Public Works promised that the bees would be protected and also claimed that the city would somehow relocate the bees temporarily during construction. Not only is it illegal to transport a physically endangered species without USFWS permits, but it’s also impossible given that these bees are small, rare, and hard to find.
The only official response from the city regarding the protection of the RPBB was that they said They were growing the “right plants” and had a “water feature” for bees in the employee’s yard. Unfortunately, RPBBs that are killed or damaged by the release of toxic pollution or construction activities will disappear long before they enter the decorative “yard of bees.”
The city should be required to engage in the licensing process due to the high potential for harming and killing the bee, although USFWS Vulnerable Record Protection RPBB from construction damage. In addition, the city should also be required to conduct a full cumulative environmental impact statement to assess any other harmful effects this project could cause to the area.
This deliberate harm to bees by the city contradicts their stated promises in 2015 Pollinator-Friendly Society Resolution which claims to support pollinator health and local nutritional solutions. Despite the fact that RPBB is the Minnesota State Bee, It appears that both the state and the city are simply using bees to boost their own image rather than take action to prevent harm.
It seems like the city will distort or ignore regulatory processes and laws, even if that means Intentionally polluting an overburdened society Or killing bees on the verge of extinction.
Julia Brokaw is a sixth-year doctoral student. Candidate at the University of Minnesota Bee Lab studies ecology for the conservation and restoration of wild bees and also works for the Xerces Invertebrate Conservation Society. Dr. Eileen Evans is an expert bumblebee researcher whose work focuses on the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee. The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the authors’ employers.