August 31, 2023

Merkley, Wyden Announce Nearly $1.5 Million to Promote Healthy Pollinator Populations

Funding to support research at University of Oregon and Oregon State University

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced the University of Oregon and Oregon State University are receiving a combined total of $1,499,973 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to support research into bee populations and habitats.

“Protecting pollinators, like bees and butterflies, is an urgent issue that requires bold and sustainable solutions,” said Senator Merkley, who as a champion for pollinator conservation efforts, introduced the MONARCH Act and Pollinator Power Act and leads annual Monarch Summits. “This funding will provide important information for how to better protect pollinators that keep our environment and agricultural products bright and strong.”

“Pollinators are crucial to our nation’s food production,” Wyden said. “Farmers all over Oregon depend on bees and other pollinators for specialty crops like blueberries, marionberries, raspberries, pears and more. I’m gratified to see these dollars go toward research solutions that protect livelihoods and our environment at the same time.”

This funding is part of a larger $11.6 million investment from NIFA in projects that promote healthy pollinator populations through projects that promote healthy populations of animal pollinators in agricultural systems where reliance of crops on pollinators for pollination services is increasing and where declines of pollinators is evident.

Award and project information can be found below:

  • University of Oregon: $750,000 to evaluate techniques for creating native plant enhancements in harvested forests for promoting pollinator populations through a landscape-scale floral enhancement experiment.
  • Oregon State University: $749,973 to create the B-Team: a mobile volunteer team of certified Master Melittologists that can conduct intensive monitoring and surveys of bee biodiversity and bee host-plant associations; Inventory western lands for bee biodiversity and associated bee host plants; and Develop a reporting tool for land managers to access records of bees collected on their lands and visualize the bee-plant host associations.