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General Services Administration Sets Standards to Better Protect Bees

Pollinator Initiative will set policies and practices to support pollinator habitats through design, construction and maintenance of federal properties.

By Dan Hounsell, Senior Editor Green

Saving bees and other pollinators from the risks they face is an important part of a sustainable future because pollinators are critical to agriculture and food production, contributing more than $20 billion each year to the national economy. 

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently announced a new Pollinator Initiative that supports the federal government's commitment to protect pollinators. GSA has established policies and practices to support pollinator habitat through the design, construction and maintenance of federal properties nationwide. 

The administration also has installed honeybee hives at 11 GSA facilities across the country as part of a yearlong pilot that aims to identify location-based best practices in landscaping and planning for pollinators. The GSA pilot will inform a more efficient and effective design policy to create and maintain habitats that can be modeled by other federal agency partners, builders, and property managers. 

GSA's Center for Urban Development is managing the pilot program through its Good Neighbor Program with a contract awarded to The Best Bees Co., a U.S. beekeeping service. The company will maintain the hives for a year, analyze honey production from each hive and identify the plants and landscapes that are specifically beneficial to local pollinators. This information is expected to help guide GSA's future pollinator-friendly landscape design and maintenance policies and practices. 

Dan Hounsell is senior editor for the facilities market. He has more than 25 years of experience covering engineering, maintenance, and grounds management issues in institutional and commercial facilities. 

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