In support of their mission to conserve wildlife, Jim Kurth, Chief of the Refuge System has boldly made the decision to ban genetically modified crops and neonicotinoid insecticides from being used on national wildlife refuges across the country. This decision was based purely on what is best for wildlife management and the National Wildlife Refuge System’s Policy on Biological Integrity.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will begin to phase out the use of genetically modified crops to feed wildlife; by January 2016, they will be eliminated completely. In a memorandum released July 17, 2014, Kurth states that “We have demonstrated our ability to successfully accomplish refuge purposes over the past two years without using genetically modified crops, therefore it is no longer possible to say that their use is essential to meet wildlife management objectives.”
The Service also decided that by January of 2016, neonicotinoid pesticides will be completely phased out. These pesticides have been linked to the decline of the bee population hurting local ecosystems. Kurth mentions “We have determined that prophylactic use, such as a seed treatment, of the neonicotinoid pesticides that can distribute systematically in a plant and can potentially affect a broad spectrum of non-target species that is not consistent with Service policy.”