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Appleton lawmaker proposes task force to study ways to protect pollinators

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APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) A state lawmaker from Appleton is calling for the creation of a task force to study ways to protect pollinators. As Kris Schuller reports the goal is to find ways to grow their dwindling populations.

At a garden in Appleton, State Representative Amanda Stuck (D-Appleton) announces a new effort to protect native pollinators.

“Pollinators impact everything we do every day, the food we eat, the plants we enjoy. Without pollinators we don’t have those things,” Stuck said.

Stuck is co-author of a bill seeking sponsors which calls for the creation of a state task force to find ways to help stop the ongoing decline of bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects.

“It will look at things like pesticide usage, also things like habitat management and things we can do here in the state to make sure we are protecting our pollinators,” Stuck said.

The task force would include stakeholders directly impacted who’d study the use of pesticides, look at successful pollinator health programs in other states and come up with recommendations on how to move forward.

“Overall the last 20 years have been pretty crippling to pollinator populations nationwide,” said biology professor Israel Del Toro.

Del Toro says while Wisconsin has over 500 species of bees, other insects like flies, beetles, moths and butterflies also pollinate. They too are seeing declining populations and he feels this task force is sorely needed.

“I think this is a great opportunity to gather research, gather data, educate people about the current status in Wisconsin and where we can make the most impact to benefit our pollinators,” Del Toro said.

“A lot of the main crops we grow here depend on pollinators – so it’s important for our economy and our farmers,” Stuck said.

And Stuck and Del Toro both say it’s important to develop a statewide strategy as soon as possible.

“I think there is still time to turn back thet clock and help our native pollinators,” said Del Toro.

Pollinators account for millions of dollars a year in crop production here in Wisconsin.

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