U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Bans GMOs and Neonicotinoid Insecticides

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.”

The Refuge Associate applauds Kurth and the Service for making these bold decisions for the benefit of wildlife. The decision has received some media this week here and here.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.refugeassociation.org/2014/08/u-s-fish-and-wildlife-service-bans-gmos-and-neonicotinoid-insecticides/


  1. Marlene Warkoczewski says:

    Thank you so much.

  2. Friends of Mashpee NWR says:

    Great. We ALL need to make sure none of our seeds for gardening, flowers contain these Neonicotinoid Insecticides. This is the first year I have NOT seen any monarch Butterflies and overall, very few butterflies are on the flowers we planted within the Refuge. There are many factors affecting these insects but this insecticide is insidious and must be banned forever. Thanks…

  3. Kingfisher500 says:

    This is a great decision. I hope that other wildlife feeders will do likewise.

  4. Science guy says:

    The decision to ban GMO crops on refuges is absolutely without scientific basis. Therefore one has to think it is either the personal ideology of Jim Kurth or fawning political appeasement of the anti-GMO fringe groups that promoted this decision.

  5. Volunteer Naturalist at Forsythe NWR says:

    Yes! I am very happy about the US Fish and Wildlife’s ban on neonics and GMOs. I am looking forward to the day when neonics and GMOs are banned throughout the US!

  6. Blu says:

    There is a Monsanto facility in Waialua, HI with a Catholic Monastery on top of the hill a short distance away. They raised bees and sold the honey there. A year ago I went to purchase some honey and was told that the bees all died from some kind of disease.

  7. Annie Gaddis says:

    These guys are “smarter than the average bear!”

  8. N. Corbin says:

    I read with great interest about banning GMO’s. There is no proof that GMO”s are in anyway a danger to wildlife or humans. GMO’s have helped starving nations feed their poor with better nutrition with GMO;s. Genetically altered grains have been around for many years why all of a sudden is there such an uproar. We have hybrid tomatoes, apples, corn, etc. and have been eating the for years, Change is not always for the better, but something that has been around for years, why all of a sudden is there such a fuss?

  9. Kristina Lefever says:

    Its been a year! Thank you! I know the ban of both gmos and neonics are making a huge difference for our pollinators and beneficial insects!

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