The California Pollinator Coalition

Bumble Bee on Purple Coneflower, by Tiffani Harrison

The California Pollinator Coalition, convened by Pollinator Partnership, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Almond Board of California, is made up of a diverse group of agricultural and environmental organizations with the shared goal of providing enhanced habitat for pollinators. The Coalition and its more than 20 founding members (listed below) – representing the large majority of California’s landscape of crop and range land – have pledged to increase habitat for pollinators, including beneficial insects (e.g., bees, butterflies, beetles, wasps, moths and more), on working lands.

The goal is to increase collaboration between agriculture and conservation groups for the benefit of biodiversity and food production. The result will be on-the-ground improvements, technical guidance, funded research, documentation of relevant case studies, and tracked progress toward increasing healthier pollinator habitats. Achieving this goal benefits farmers and the environment in California, by increasing biodiversity, improving pollination success, supporting Integrated Pest Management, and sequestering more carbon in the soil. The Coalition also hopes their success will serve as a model for more collaboration among interests who have not always been aligned, but who are willing to come together in partnership to confront common challenges.

IN THE NEWS - Diverse Group of Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resource Organizations Comes Together to Protect California’s Pollinators

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Working Lands are Part of the Solution

The Coalition cannot reach its goal without the farmers and ranchers who manage working lands in California – providing more than 50% of the fruits and vegetables for the country. Farmers and ranchers need assistance in developing pollinator-friendly forage on their working lands, which can increase the cost of production and compete for precious resources like water. The collective land represented by farmers and ranchers represented by Coalition members will provide the critical mass to address habitat on an unprecedented scale for the benefit of wild and managed pollinators.

Sweat Bee on Sneezeweed, by Tiffani Harrison

Coalition Scope of Activities

The California Pollinator Coalition will focus on increasing forage habitat for pollinators on working lands by assisting farmers in implementing pollinator-friendly practices, showing progress as part of the solution. Key activities of the Coalition will include:

  • Preparing grower-friendly guidance to build and maintain pollinator habitat on farms and ranches
  • Promoting voluntary, incentive-based habitat establishment projects and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices
  • Conducting research and disseminating relevant science
  • Monitoring outcomes (adoption rates and effectiveness of practices)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, by Anthony Colangelo

Context: Defining the Need

Pollinators are a critical resource that requires attention and support. California is home to more than 1,600 native bees and hundreds of other species of pollinating insects. Globally, pollinators provide service to more than 180,000 different plant species, more than 1,200 crops, and are responsible for producing an estimated one out of every three bites of food. In addition to the food that we eat, pollinators also sustain our ecosystems and produce our natural resources by helping plants reproduce. Pollinators add $217 billion to the global economy each year. Many of the nation’s pollinated crops – like citrus and almonds – are grown in California. Pollinator populations are declining and often suffer from the same challenges as California agriculture, which could be mitigated through collaborative action.

Honey Bee on Almond Blossom, by Almond Board of California

Coalition Membership

While just beginning its work, the Coalition is catalyzing new collaborations and continuing to recruit partners who understand the urgency and share the common goal of supporting both the health of pollinators and agriculture. Current membership includes: Agricultural Council of California, Almond Alliance, Almond Board of California, California Alfalfa and Forage Association, California Association of Pest Control Advisers, California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, California Cattlemen’s Association, California Citrus Mutual, California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Farm Bureau Federation, California State Beekeepers Association, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, Environmental Defense Fund, Monarch Joint Venture, Monarch Watch, Pollinator Partnership, Project Apis m., University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service of California, Western Growers, Dr. Neal Williams, University of California, Davis.