Creating Suitable Habitats for Bees and Promoting Native Plant Species

Honey bees have received a lot of attention in the media lately, and their decline is a great cause of concern for agriculturists, beekeepers, and the pollinator dependent environment at large. However, native pollinators such as butterflies, birds, bats, native bee species, and other insects are at risk from pesticide usage and a decline in suitable habitat as well. There are more than 4,000 species of bees native to North America, with over 300 found in Pennsylvania. Unlike honey bees, which are found predominantly in managed bee houses, most bee species live in the ground, or in dead wood, and crevices between rocks.

Guidelines for providing natural, native bee nesting sites. Different native bee species will utilize different habitat types, and a variety of possibilities should be offered to attract a variety of bees.

  • Small areas of bare ground surrounded by weedy vegetation
  • Well drained soil on flat or sloping surfaces
  • Dry, dead wood with holes from beetles or other burrowing species
  • mounds of sandy soil
  • well drained soil protected by loose networks of sticks and brush
  • all nesting areas should be within range of foraging habitat (native flowering plants)

Active Sweat Bee Burrow (Just Missed Him) – Ryan Fantasia


Potential Nesting Site: Area frequented by bumblebees – Ryan Fantasia

Wood pile by compost and Exposed Weedy Area: Frequented By a
number of bee species (they seem to enjoy the aluminum ladder too) –
Ryan Fantasia

Some bee species that tend to be more colonial than solitary, like some bumblebee species, will also inhabit home-made bee boxes.

The Xerces Society offers a number of guidelines for maintaining and creating your own nesting sites in this fact sheet: Nests for Native Bees
Pollinator Friendly Lawns

Lush green lawns consisting of just one species of turf grass may look great to humans, but they offer little or no benefit to most bee species. Bare spots encourage nesting habitats for ground dwelling bees, and the flowerless lawn does not provide much of a food source for any bee species.

Some tips for making your lawn more pollinator friendly:

  • Use mixed grass seeds with species such as clover, trefoil, and other low growing, flowering ground cover
  • Eliminate use of conventional grub and insect control chemicals such as pyrethroids and imidacloprid (see the active ingredients in your pesticides and fertilizers!)
  • allow flowering weeds to flourish (they cover your lawn just as well as turf grass does)
  • keep some areas “low traffic” to minimize disruption of ground nesting bees

Native Perennial Flowering Species

In addition to adding clover and other low growing plants to lawns, another solution is to cut back on your lawn area altogether. Native flowering plant species are an excellent source of nourishment and habitat for pollinators and other native insects that can keep pests at bay, and trading some lawn area or exotic flowers for a bed of native perennials can provide greater aesthetic and ecological value to your property.

Planting native species helps to ensure that your work will not go to waste, as they are well adapted to the conditions in your area. Most bee populations have evolved with the native flora, and sometimes one plant species is dependent almost exclusively on a certain bee species, and vice versa.


Check out Northeast Natives and Perennials to purchase native species for your yard, right here in Haycock Twp!


The Xerces Society For Invertebrate Conservation offers information on Flowering Species and other resources for promoting bee habitats through their Pollinator Conservation Resource Center Website:


Through partnerships with the native seed industry, Xerces also offers seed mixes for native wildflowers and grasses that promote pollinator habitat:


Information on pollinator attracting plant species native to specific regions available through: Local USDA Cooperative Extensions:


Native Flower Bearing Plants For Native Bee Species – PA and NJ

Penn State University. (2009). Agroecology in Practice: Conserving Wild Bees in Pennsylvania.

Full Fact Sheet available at:



✝ The USDA-NRCS plants database lists Crisium discolor, a native field thistle, as potentially weedy or invasive. Though you should not encourage large populations, it is a valuable pollinator foraging resource and can be managed as such. Its seeds are not commercially available.
Photograph Credits: Elaine Haug @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database (Lobelia spicata, Asclepias syriaca, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium) Patrick J. Alexander @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database (Apocynum cannabinum) Jeff McMillian @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database (Erigeron strigosus, Prunella vulgaris Jim Stasz @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database (Scutellaria integrifolia, Verbena hastata) Seabrooke Leckie (Solidago odora) Thomas Barnes (University of Kentucky) @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS (Agalinis purpurea, Cirsium discolor) William Justice @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS (Vernonia noveboracensis) Janet Novak @ Connecticut Botanical Society (Eupatorium maculatum) Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database (Euthamia graminifolia) (Potentilla norvegica)
Bryn Mawr College and Rutgers University. (May 2009). Native Bee Benefits for Pennsylvania and New Jersey Farmers. Pg 6
Full fact-sheet available at:

Preventative Methods Against Insects and Weeds: “Cultural Controls”

Mixing up Lawn-care Practices

Planting a combination of tradition turf grasses and other low growing species like clover, rye grass, and trefoil can make lawn maintenance a much more simple, low input task. The roots of clover and trefoil species (legumes) are home to beneficial microbes that have the ability to fix nitrogen, that is, to fertilize your lawn naturally and reduce the need for high nitrogen fertilizers. Adding some variety with these plants which are commonly considered “weeds” can help to minimize groundwater pollution from excess fertilizer use, and also provides a better home and food source for bees and other beneficial insects.

A mixed bag of plant species also means less susceptibility to many common pests of turfgrass, such as the infamous soil dwelling “white grubs” and other insect larvae that may hurt your lawn and be destructive in their adult forms. Limiting the use of high nitrogen fertilizers and making use of the fertilizing properties of nitrogen fixing plants can allow your grass to devote more of its energy and nutrients to developing a robust root system, which makes a less desirable habitat for many of these soil dwelling pests, and cuts down on the need to use traditional, harmful insecticides to keep the bugs at bay. A mixed lawn can also be more effective at crowding out undesired weeds than a bed of single seed turf grasses.

Other methods that can be employed to reduce the risk of weed and grub infestation in the lawn, and limit dependence on chemicals include:

  • Mowing higher and less frequently to decrease the amount of exposed soil
  • Watering less frequently (~once a week), but thoroughly and deeply to ensure strong root growth, and avoiding watering when precipitation provides sufficient water supply
  • “Over-seeding” lawns with mixed seeds in early spring or fall to reduce bare spots
  • Leaving a portion of grass clippings on the lawn to decompose and maintain balanced, steady nutrient levels

Mulching and Sheeting (Weed Barriers)

Aside from providing a clean and appealing look for flower beds and gardens, proper mulching around plants can:

  • Return organic nutrients to the soil
  • Prevent implantation of weeds
  • Help retain moisture in soil
  • Keep soil cool

Some environmentally friendly mulches to help prevent weed growth and eliminate herbicide use in your garden:

  • Brush, wood-chips, and sticks from around the yard (makes use of material that would be otherwise disposed of, NO COST)
  • Pine needles/straw and pine bark
  • Cocoa shell mulch (by-product of cocoa manufacturing, insect repellent properties, WARNING: Poisonous to Dogs)
  • Agricultural by-products (peanut shells, corn husks, etc)

Weed barriers are sheets that can be applied below mulch, around plants, to keep weeds from gaining a root foothold. Common weed barriers are made of plastics, but biodegradable materials such as old newspapers, and recycled cardboard sheets available commercially do the job quite well.

Companion Planting to Deter Insects

Many plants, specifically aromatic herbs, can be planted along with garden vegetables in order to deter pest insects including mosquitoes, flies, fleas, ticks, caterpillars, Japanese beetles, and others including:

  • Broadleaf sage (also covers ground area to limit weed growth)
  • Lavender
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Mint / Catnip
  • Thyme

Home Remedies for Insecticides and Herbicides

There are many popular home remedies for dealing with pest weeds and insects that are often times safer than their chemical alternatives.

Home Brew Insecticides

Garlic, Onion, and Pepper sprays prepared at home often times work as a wonderful insect repellent for gardens and flowerbeds, since leaf consuming insects do not find the mixture palatable and tend to stay away. Recipes vary by personal preference, but general guidelines suggest using the following:

  • A few cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • A small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp of hot pepper, or fresh chopped hot pepper
  • ~1 qt warm water
  • Allow the mixture to steep in a mason jar or container for up to two days, strain through a coffee filter or cheesecloth, and apply with a spray bottle to leafy surfaces and stems of garden plants

Some recipes choose to include a few teaspoons liquid hand soap (potassium salts of fatty acids) to the mixture, but this can be harmful to some beneficial insects and sometimes the plant surfaces themselves, especially if the wrong kind of soap is used. Added benefits of including the soap include death to soft bodied pests, and more staying power on the plant surface. Spray concoctions without the soap need to be applied fairly regularly, especially after rain, to remain effective.

Oil Based Home Remedies

Other home remedies suggest using vegetable oils mixed with water, and garlic or hot pepper, however these treatments offer many of the downsides that the soaps do, depending on the situation.

Beer and Slugs

A common home method for dealing with slugs in the garden is to use beer in the corners of yards or around problem areas to attract the slugs and drown them. Some guidelines for using beer as a safe alternative to commercial pesticides:

  • Partially bury a wide, open container so that the rim lays near the ground surface
  • Add liquid hand soap to improve effectiveness when slugs contact the beer
  • Prop up a small cover above the container to reduce dilution by rainwater, with ample room for the slugs to enter underneath

Other effective methods for “slugicide” include dilute alcohol sprays, salt, or removal by hand.


Home Brew Herbicides

Common alternatives to synthetic herbicides like Roundup for weed killing include:

  • Equal parts water and vinegar spray
  • Boiling Water

These methods, however effective, are general to most plants, so will often times harm the plants you desire to keep. They should probably be reserved for weeds around rock beds, driveways, and sidewalk cracks.

Mosquito Control Without Chemical Insecticides

Most municipalities no longer conduct widespread, preventative spraying for adult mosquitoes, which is largely ineffective. Larval control mechanisms, and minimization of standing water for breeding are the main effective controls against mosquito populations.

In Bucks County, when problem areas arise due to inefficient breeding control, adult spraying is conducted, usually with Ultra Low Volume spray (fogger) application of Pyrethroids, such as Permethrin and PBO mixes, which are highly toxic to bees, other beneficial insects, and water-dwelling critters. There are many home methods that can be undertaken to reduce the risk of mosquito outbreaks, which are risk factors for diseases such as West Nile Virus.

Eliminate standing water from your property:

  • Drain pools when not in use, support with floats to minimize water accumulation on top of covers
  • Clean gutters regularly
  • Provide adequate drainage for all gutter outputs and flood areas
  • Provide adequate circulation for garden ponds
  • Cover trash receptacles and drill holes in bottom to provide drainage
  • Do not over-water lawns and garden beds
  • Replace water in bird baths and rain catching buckets regularly

Stock isolated, man-made ponds with insect consuming fish such as goldfish, koi, and mosquito guppies. Reduce fish feeding to encourage mosquito larvae as alternate food source.

When standing water cannot be eliminated, use safe, species-specific controls against larval mosquitoes such as commercial products containing Bti (Mosquito Dunks, etc.) to treat these potential breeding grounds . Birds and Bats can also provide a good source of control for adult mosquitoes. See Biological Controls for More Information

Minimizing Mosquito Bite Risk

  • avoid being outdoors between dusk and dawn
  • wear long clothing to cover exposed skin
  • use mosquito nets/screens or tents on porches and decks
  • use a personal insect repellent (Lemon Eucalyptus formulas are some of the most effective natural repellent alternatives to DEET formulas)

Biological Controls of Insects Pests

Of the many alternatives to synthetic chemical insecticides, biological controls are arguably the best for the environment. Introduction of natural predators of common pests can help to restore ecological balance, and provides a relatively risk free way to deal with your pest problem.

Birds and Bats – Natural Insect Predators

Birds and bats are two common controls for pest populations, like mosquitoes. Insectivorous bats and birds offer a double whammy in pest management, because they often act as pollinators just as bees and butterflies do.

Common birds used as biological controls for mosquitoes and flying insects are various types of swallows and purple martins. They can be attracted to the home by providing a risk free habitat and nesting site.

Many people create both bird and bat houses on their property to achieve this goal. In the case of bats particularly, making use of these practices can help to make up for lost habitat and population declines.

Bat houses should sit high above the ground, get plenty of sun for warmth, and be built close to a water source such as a lake, stream, or home pond.

National Wildlife Federation Web Producer, Carla Brown, built her own bat house using the Small Economy Bat House Plan from Bat Conservation International’s website, and you can too!

Building a Bat House

Microbial Insecticides (Neem Attack, Mosquito Dunks, etc.)

When problems with pest insects really get out of hand, a broad spectrum, synthetic chemical application is not usually necessary. Identification of the pest at hand, and what type of damage it may cause is always the first step, and then, a variety of microbial insecticides may be of use. Most microbial insecticides are very pest specific, and do not pose much of a threat to humans, pests, and non-target insects. Careful when using them on grubs and caterpillars though, those little bugs may be slated to morph into a harmless, pollinating moth or butterfly!

Bacteria of the Bacillus variety are some of the most common microbial insecticides, and most are quite safe. Different species and strains can target different insect pests. Common targets include mosquito and blackfly larvae, Japanese beetle grubs, and various grub and caterpillar species.
Some useful information that can get you on your way to identifying and purchasing the best Bacillus strain for your needs, can be found in  Microbial Insecticides, Published by R. Weinzierl, T. Henn, P. G. Koehler and C. L. Tucker at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The full fact sheet is available here.


Nematodes are roundworms that are hosts to bacteria, and can parasite pest insects in the soil and in some cases on leaves and plants. They are particularly useful in home lawn management and in gardens.

The Cornell University Department of Entomology offers a great resource through their biological control webpage, on different varieties of nematodes, insect pests they can help to control, and various commercial products and distributors of nematodes.

Save the Date! – Oct 21, 2012- : Haycock NWF Community Habitat Certification Celebration

Save the Date! – Oct 21, 2012- : Haycock NWF Community Habitat Certification Celebration

On Sun Oct 21, 2012 between 1-4pm, a representative from the National Wildlife Federation will be travelling to Haycock Township to officially certify Haycock Township as a National Wildlife Federation Community Habitat.  Haycock Township will be the 63rd NWF community habitat certified in the US. The ceremony will take place at the township building, 640 Harrisburg School Rd., Quakertown, PA, during their annual open house.  Refreshments will be served.  All are welcome.

NWF Haycock Certification update (Oct 2011)

Unbelievable! We are only shy 12 points!

Points needed for NWF certification = 250 in required categories below

Registration (minimum 40; max 70)

Administrative Goals (minimum 20)

Community Project Goals (minimum 50)

Education Goals (minimum 40)

Habitat Certifications (minimum 100)

            At least 50 homes at 1 point each

            At least 1 school at 5 points

            3 points for each farm, place of business, house of worship, community space

            3 points if each team member registered their property

 Where we are now (October 2011)

50 Registration points:

  5 for the map

10 for completing the Part II: Ecological Characteristics

10 for the letter of support

5 for creating a plan to keep in regular communication

5 for identifying potential funding sources

5 for identifying possible demo gardens

10 for organizing a kickoff event

Total = 50 points.

1) Administrative Goals (20 pts min) we have 30!!!

30 pts Two partner (10 pts per partner) organizations affiliated with your project: The Turnip Truck, NE Natives and Perennials, Vanderlely Landscaping

2) Community Project Goals (50 pts min) (45 so far)

Completed Points:

10 pts Organize a native plant sale

5 pts Organize an invasive plant removal at a public site

10 pts Create an information booth at one or more community events (up to three)

15 pts pending Each presentation to organization not yet associated with CWH project (5pts each, up to 5)

5 pts Habitat Team member that serves on community board or council related to environmental issues (Dr. Julie Fagan, Rutgers Energy Institute)

Possible points:

? 10 pts  pending Examine your community’s weed ordinances, or other public policies, and work to make them native plant and habitat friendly

? 10 pts Do a large-scale plant restoration project in your community

? 10 pts Work with local park agencies to convert parkland to wildlife friendly landscapes.

? 5 pts Coordinate a stream or trail clean-up

? 10 pts Work with local nurseries to label and/or provide native plants

5 Plan a native plant rescue (at a site to be developed or demolished)

10  Partner with your NWF state affiliate or NWF field office

5 Organize a family-oriented nature activity for your community such as a nature hike or nature scavenger hunt

10 Arrange a community-wide campout to support the Great American Backyard Campout

TBD  Community Project (please discuss with NWF staff)

3) Education Goals (40 pts min)  50 points completed

 Completed Points

10 pts Establish an information kiosk, resource library or bibliography (may be online) where community members can get information about your project

5 pts Create a CWH project brochure specific to your community (included)

10 pts Create a website where community members can learn about your project

10 pts Write a regular column in your community paper to educate community members about your project (may be an online newsletter or blog)

10 pts Secure a feature article in the local media about your project

5 pts Create and distribute a native plant list for your community

Possible Points:

10 pts Secure a radio or TV interview or PSA on your project

10 Hold a series of at least 3 workshops to educate community members about wildlife gardening- 1 so far Rain barrel workshop in July 2011

10 Each member of Habitat Team completes Creating Places for Wildlife (available from NWF on CD)

10 Hold a garden tour that features certified habitats

10 Create a demonstration garden at a public site, with educational signs

TBD Other Education Project (please discuss with NWF staff)

Habitat Certifications (minimum 100) we have 98!!

            At least 50 homes at 1 point each (49 so far!)

            At least 1 school at 5 points – (2 = 10 pts)

            3 points for each farm, place of business, house of worship, community space (13= 39pts)

3 points if each member of the Habitat Team certifies their yard as a Certified Wildlife Habitat site – (3 pts)

Habitat Team: Julie M. Fagan, Ph.D., Beth Clark, Jenn and Alex McCracken, Drs. Warren and Roberta Heydenberk, David Hughes, Gina Fredericks, Carol Schroding

Unbelievable! We are only shy 12 points!

We need 2 more points in the Habitat Certification Category with at least 1 new backyard

We need 5 more points in the Community Project Category (in addition to the 15 points pending completion)

Then we need to figure out

1) Where the sign will go (and who will pay for it)

            Was thinking it should go on Rte 563 as you cross into Haycock Township or at the intersection of Harrisburg School Rd.

2) When and what we should do for our opening celebration event (winter, 1st weekend in Spring?)

Oct 20: Haycock Historical Society & the NWF certification

The Haycock Historical Society (7pm meeting) hosted The Haycock Community Wildlife Habitat Initiative at 7:30 pm Thurs Oct 20 at the Bucks County Latvian Church (1144 Apple Rd., Quakertown).  Dr. Julie Fagan presented where Haycock Township stoods in their quest to achieve National Wildlife Federation Community Wildlife Habitat Certification and spoke about how the $20 backyard habitat application fee is spent.

A little about the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) :

75 years young with 4 million supporters

National Wildlife Federation’s mission is to Inspire Americans to Protect Wildlife for our Children’s Future. 3 program areas:

1)      getting children and families more connected with nature by getting them outdoors,

2)      safeguarding wildlife and habitat and

3)      finding solutions to global climate change.

History of the NWF

A Conservationist’s Vision Iowa cartoonist Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling began the vision for what would become the National Wildlife Federation. His cartoons and conservation ethic caught the attention of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who appointed him the head of the U.S. Biological Survey in 1934 (the forerunner to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

Darling proclaimed, “It is hard to start a fire with one stick of wood!” He valued the importance of multiple stakeholder participation and accepting the attitudes, values, and beliefs of many groups. Darling’s dream became reality in 1936 when he convinced President Franklin Roosevelt to invite over 2,000 hunters, anglers, and conservationists from across the country to the first North American Wildlife Conference in Washington, DC.  There, the General Wildlife Federation (later changed to the National Wildlife Federation) was formed with the idea of uniting sportsmen and all outdoor and wildlife enthusiasts behind the common goal of conservation and Ding Darling became the first president of the organization.

Present day (2010) NWF’s Habitats’ programs: Certified Wildlife Habitat (138,000), Schoolyard Habitat (3600), and Community Habitat (48).

 Where your money goes 

NWF Funding – 2010

 Revenues $100 million, with 70 percent coming from supporters through memberships and publications.

$46 million in donations and bequests came from generous individual donors including our members.

$16 million from Foundation and corporate grants (181) for NWF conservation and education programs.

$20 million NWF revenue from publications and films. Nature Education Materials’ revenue totaled $9 million.

$3 million – Gain on investment income and $5 million from royalties and other income.

Expenditures $97 million, with 78% toward conservation education programs and only 20% toward adminstrative oversight

$29 million for conservation advocacy programs

$25 million for education outreach & publications

$9 million other nature education programs

$14 million membership education programs

$12 million fundraising

$8 million general administration 

$ that went toward Legislative Initiatives produced the following “Victories”

1937 – Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson) – This act created a federal excise tax on firearms and provides matching funds to states for the acquisition, restoration, and maintenance of habitat for the management of wildlife and for research concerning wildlife management. To date, this act has spent $5 billion on state wildlife habitat projects.

1947 – Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) – Land¬mark legislation addressing toxic chemicals in the environment, FIFRA defines “economic poisons” to be any product “intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any insects, rodents, nematodes, fungi, weeds” or other forms of life declared to be a pest. Plant regulators, defoliants, and desiccants are also included as economic poisons. This act requires that all such poisons be registered and labeled with a warning and instructions for use to prevent injury to nontarget organisms. This was the first time a federal law considered the effects of certain poisons on nontarget wildlife.

1948 – Transfer of Certain Real Property for Wildlife Conservation Purposes Act – Under this legislation, if a federal agency possesses land it no longer needs but which has particular value for migratory birds, the agency can be reimbursed for transferring the land to the secretary of the interior or to a state agency for wildlife conservation.

1950 – Federal Aid in Fish Restoration Act (Dingell Johnson) – An extension of the concept of the Pittman-Robertson Act, this act uses a general tax on sport fishing equipment to raise funds which are made available to states for the restoration and management of sport fisheries.

1956 – Water Pollution Control Act – This landmark legislation stipulates that federal grants may be given for the construction of water treatment plants. Originally limited to interstate waters, this act was extended in 1975 to include navigable waters.

1956 – Fish and Wildlife Reorganization Act – This act split the Fish and Wildlife Service into two bureaus: Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, and Commercial Fisheries. In addition, the act authorizes the secretary of the interior to take steps “required for the development, advancement, management, conservation and protection of fishery and wildlife resources” through research, ac¬quisition of refuge lands, and development of existing facilities.

1958 – Pesticide Research Act – This act directs the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to investigate wildlife losses possibly caused by the application of pesticides and to research ways to reduce damage and loss.

1960 – Sikes Act – This act requires all U.S. military reservations to develop, maintain, and coordinate conservation programs for wildlife, fish, and game.

1961 – Wetlands Loan Act – An advanced, interest-free appropriation to the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Fund (to acquire refuges and waterfowl pro¬duction areas) of up to $105 million for a 7-year period was authorized.

1963 – Clean Air Act – Acting on its own or at the request of a state, the De¬partment of Health, Education, and Welfare (and now the Environmental Protection Agency) can initiate public hearings, conferences, and court pro¬ceedings to effect compliance with air pollution regulations.

1964 – Wilderness Act – The National Wilderness System was created out of wilderness, wild, and canoe areas of the national forests and provision was made for a review system for the inclusion of additional wilderness areas.

1964 – Land and Water Conservation Fund Act – Monies collected primarily from offshore oil and gas leases are used to fund a variety of state and federal recreational programs and to acquire recreational lands. Later amendments to the act increased the total annual expenditure, increased the proportion of the fund to be contributed by the federal government, and allowed the fund to be used to acquire areas needed for conserving endangered and threatened species of plants or animals.

1966 – Endangered Species Preservation Act – The secretary of the interior is directed to carry out a land acquisition program to “conserve, protect, restore, and propagate selected species of native fish and wildlife” in the United States. Up to $15 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund can be used for acquisition.

1968 – Wild and Scenic Rivers Act – Segments of seven major rivers in their free-flowing state were set aside for recreational and conservation purposes; provision was made to add to the system.

1968 – National Trails System Act – A national trail system was established, comprising National Recreation Trails and National Scenic Trails.

1969 – National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) – All federal agencies must prepare, and make public, environmental impact statements with respect to any proposed legislation or other action that would significantly affect the quality of the environment.

1969 – Endangered Species Conservation Act – Authority conferred on the secretary of the interior by the 1966 Endangered Species Act was expanded; types of wildlife under protection are defined. The secretary of the interior may promulgate a list of wildlife “threatened with worldwide extinction” and prohibit importation of any animal appearing on this list.

1969 – Water Bank Act – The secretary of agriculture was given the authority to enter into agreements with private landowners to protect wetlands in areas important to the nesting and breeding of waterfowl.

1971 – Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act – This legislation granted 44 mil¬lion acres of federal land and a $1 million cash settlement to Alaskan natives, paving the way for the construction of the 800-mile Alyeska pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to the Gulf of Alaska. It also set the stage for the 1980 Alaska Lands Act by requiring the secretary of the interior to set aside over 80 million acres of Alaskan lands for Congress to designate as national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests, and wild and scenic rivers.

1972 – Coastal Zone Management Act – This act was designed to “preserve, protect, develop, and, where possible, to restore or enhance the resources of the nation’s coastal zone.”

1972 – Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments (Clean Water Act) – With this legislation, the U.S. was provided with a new, comprehensive, and forceful strategy not only to stop the pollution but also to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of lakes, streams, and surface waters. Under Section 404 of this act, the Army Corps of Engineers was given responsibility to oversee any discharge of dredged or fill material in navigable waters. (After a 1975 NWF lawsuit, this jurisdiction was extended to include wetlands and headwaters.)

1972 – Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act (Oceans Dumping Act) – This act prevents and limits the dumping of specific waste materials at sea and authorizes the secretary of commerce, with presidential approval, to designate marine sanctuaries and preserve or restore these areas for their conservation, ecological, or esthetic values.

1972 – Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act – EPA was given much greater authority to control pesticide use, including a two-category system of registering pesticides as intended for “general” or “restricted” use, with the latter to be used only by certified applicators.

1972 – Marine Mammals Protection Act – This act calls upon the federal gov¬ernment to establish a comprehensive, coordinated program to conserve ocean mammals and their products. It extends protection to individual popu¬lation stocks as well as species or subspecies of marine mammals.

1973 – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) – Signed by 80 nations, including the United States, the convention established a system of import/export regulation to prevent the commercial overexploitation of endangered or threatened plants and animals. Different levels of trade regulations were provided depending on the threatened status of any particular species and the effect trade would have on that species.

1973 – Endangered Species Act – This act created the endangered and threatened categories for species and extended the responsibility for conserving species to all federal agencies. The secretary of the interior was made re¬sponsible for updating and overseeing these efforts. In addition, the secretary was charged with insuring that federal activities neither jeopardize the con¬tinued existence of, nor destroy or modify critical habitat for, endangered or threatened species. With this act the United States ratified the CITES Treaty.

1974 – Sikes Act Extension – With this act, the mandate to develop, maintain, and coordinate conservation programs for wildlife, fish, and game on military reservations is extended to include national forests, and public lands administered by the BLM and the Atomic Energy Commission. Such programs must include specific projects to improve habitat and must provide protection to threatened or endangered species.

1974 – Forest and Rangelands Renewable Resources Planning Act – To facilitate long range planning for the use of renewable resources within the National Forest Systems, five-year plans must be prepared to outline the protection, management, and development of land in the system.

1976 – Federal Land Policy and Management Act (BLM Organic Act) – Signifying a major policy change, this act established management standards for federal lands under the jurisdiction of the BLM. The secretary of the interior is required to develop and maintain “land use plans which provide by tracts or areas for the use of public land” and for the protection of fish and wildlife habitat. In addition, “regulations and plans for the protection of public land areas of critical environmental concern” must be promptly developed.

1976 – Toxic Substances Control Act – Designed to prevent environmental degradation, this law directed EPA to require testing of all existing and new substances which may present an unreasonable risk to public health or the environment and, if necessary, to step in with regulations.

1976 – National Forest Management Act – An amendment to the 1974 Forest and Rangelands Renewable Resources Planning Act, this act prohibits clear-cutting in national forests and imposes detailed standards on Forest Service management. Public participation is required at every significant stage of administrative action.

1977 – Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act – This act prohibits surface mining on unsuitable land and sets strict standards for reclamation and restoration of land that is suitable for surface mining.

1978 – National Parks and Recreation Act (Omnibus Parks Act) – Eight new wilderness areas, covering almost 2 million acres, were added to the National Park System. Major additions were also made to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System and the National Scenic Trails System.

1980 – Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (Alaska Lands Act) – With passage of this act, the country’s federal wildlife refuge and park systems were expanded by nearly 100 million acres and new management standards were set for refuges in the 49th state.

1980 – Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (Nongame Act) – This act authorizes federal funding to be made available for the conservation of nongame wildlife. In so doing, it strives to encourage comprehensive conservation planning, encompassing both non-game and other wildlife. Unlike Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson, funding for the Nongame Act comes not from an excise tax but from general appropriations from the U.S. Treasury. As of the end of 1986, Congress had appropriated no funds and the Nongame Act has had no opportunity to live up to its great potential.

1980 – Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (Superfund) – In the event of any damaging release of a hazardous substance into the environment, the following parties may be held liable for any cleanup costs: the manufacturers and distributors of the substance, and the owners of waste disposal sites. If the responsible party refuses to cooperate, EPA may use the Superfund for immediate cleanup costs and later sue the responsible parties for recovery of expenses. This fund is maintained by federal allocations and taxes levied on the chemical industry.

1982 – Coastal Barrier Resources Act – More than 600 miles of fragile beaches and barrier islands along the Atlantic and Gulf coast were designated as the Coastal Barrier Resource System. Federal subsidies are no longer granted for roads or bridges in these special areas.

1982 – Endangered Species Act Amendments of 1982 – Amendments to the Endangered Species Act in 1978 had a nearly crippling effect on the process of listing species as endangered or threatened. The amendments of 1982 speeded up the listing/delisting process by removing many of the burdensome requirements. They also removed economic or other extraneous considerations from the listing process, and extended the protection to include plants on federal land.

1985 – Food Security Act (Farm Bill) – Strong soil and water conservation provisions were included for the first time in a national farm bill that sets the country’s agricultural policy. “Sodbuster” and “swampbuster” provisions deny federal benefits such as crop insurance, loans, and subsidies to farmers who plow, fill in, or otherwise destroy wetlands or grasslands, and make available federal funds to plant cover crops such as legumes and various grasses in fragile areas. In addition, a conservation reserve section was established, setting aside up to 40 million acres of highly erodible land.

1986 – Water Resources Development Act – Before passage of this act, local beneficiaries of water projects did not contribute funds for their construction. By requiring that local as well as federal monies be used to fund construction, this legislation was intended to curb excessive spending as well as discourage environmentally damaging projects. The legislation also requires the Army Corps of Engineers to mitigate damages to fish and wildlife habitat and gives them authority to remedy damages to habitat caused by projects built in the past.

1986 – Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (Superfund Reauthorization) – These amendments extended the 1980 Superfund legislation by setting standards and establishing a timetable for the cleanup process and by addressing the human predicaments associated with toxic contamination. The community-right-to-know provision requires chemical companies to report everyday releases of hazardous substances and devise emergency plans for the community. Assessments of hazards to human health from contamination must be made and communicated to people in the region. State laws that had prevented victims from seeking compensation were nullified. The Superfund itself, reauthorized at $8.5 billion, is maintained by federal allocations and taxes levied on the chemical and petroleum industry and producers of hazardous wastes.

1990 – Food Agricultural Conservation and Trade Act of 1990 (Farm Bill) –  The Wetlands Reserve Program was created to restore and protect wetland areas on farmlands. The program has become the largest and most successful wetland restoration program in the country. 

1990 – Oil Pollution Act –  Following the wreck of the Exxon Valdez in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, NWF lobbied hard for passage of this law, which improved the federal government’s ability to provide funding and resources to oil spills. The OPA created the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, expanded the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan, and increased noncompliance penalties and enforcement authorities of the Federal government.

1990 – Clean Air Act – Amended the Clean Air Act of 1963. Addressed issues of acid rain, urban air pollution, and toxic air emissions. The amendments also added provisions for a phase out of ozone depleting chemicals and further research and development.

1990 – The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act –  Helped U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to form resource centers and “on the ground” restoration projects benefitting fish and wildlife habitat in the Great Lakes Basin.

1992 – Water Resources Development Act – Provided the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the authority to review the Central & South Florida Flood Control Project and develop a comprehensive plan to restore and preserve the south Florida ecosystem, enhance water supply and maintain flood protection.

1992 – Partnerships for Wildlife Act –  The act established a Wildlife Conservation and Appreciation Fund to facilitate collaborative partnerships in conservation administered through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, supporting state fish and game agencies in their management and conservation of non-game species. The act also authorizes appropriations matching contributions from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, while also authorizing grants to the States for programs and projects to conserve non-game species. 

1992 – Reclamation Projects Authorization and Adjustment Act –  The act includes many western water provisions to protect and improve environmental management:

  • Grand Canyon Protection Act – requires the Bureau of Reclamation to manage the Glen Canyon Dam “to protect, mitigate adverse impacts to, and improve the values for which Grand Canyon National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area were established.”  It also requires dam operations to be consistent with protecting the health of the Grand Canyon, and authorized experimental dam releases and long term monitoring of the Grand Canyon ecosystem.
  • Central Valley Project Improvement Act – requires the Bureau of Reclamation to protect, restore, and enhance fish and wildlife and their habitats in the Central Valley and Trinity River basins and establishes water conservation as a key principle of Central Valley water management.
  • Central Utah Project Completion Act – modernizes and expands the State’s largest reclamation project, making environmental mitigation and enhancement and water conservation and efficiency central elements of water development. Also establishes the Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission.

1992 – Reclamation Projects Authorization and Adjustment Act – The act requires all damages to the Grand Canyon to be mitigated, while stipulating that all dam operations become secondary to the health of the Grand Canyon ecosystem.

1992 – Energy Policy Act – An NWF led effort, the Act established the first new national standards for conserving water by improving the water efficiency of plumbing products that include showerheads, faucets, water closets, and urinals.

1993 – Hazard Mitigation and Relocation Assistance Act –  Amended the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to expand the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Grants Program, which automatically provides states affected by Presidentially-declared natural disasters an additional 15 percent above FEMA’s total disaster assistance costs. Funds are provided for hazard mitigation, particularly for voluntary acquisition and removal of flood damaged properties, with land dedicated and maintained in perpetuity for a uses compatible with open space, recreational, or wetlands management practices. After the Great Midwest Flood in 1993, more than 10,000 such damaged properties were removed from floodplains in nine Midwest states and owners were compensated at the pre-disaster fair-market values of buildings. 

1994 – National Flood Insurance Reform Act – NWF played a leading role in the first significant reforms of the National Flood Insurance Program since 1973. Bill included establishment of a Flood Mitigation Assistance Program to provide NFIP funds for voluntary property buyouts and relocations of flood prone properties with associated lands dedicated as open space. In addition it permanently authorized the NFIP Community Rating System to recognize communities which exceed NFIP minimum requirements to reduce risk and protect natural floodplain values, strengthened measures to enforce flood insurance purchase where it is required and established the first federal task force on natural and beneficial functions of floodplains. 

1996 – Water Resources Development Act – Established authority for Corps of Engineers to develop aquatic ecosystem restoration projects and directed study to develop a comprehensive plan for restoring, preserving and protecting the South Florida ecosystem.

1997 – National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act – NWF was a major proponent of this law to provide a unifying statement of purpose for the National Wildlife Refuge System and all of its individual refuges. Later, NWF worked with organizations to secure annual appropriations to increase funding for the National Wildlife Refuge System.

1998 – The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act – Reauthorized the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act of 1990. The act enacted 32 recommendations from the 1995 Great Lakes Fishery Resources Restoration Study.

1999 – Water Resources Development Act –  Established first broad authority for Corps of Engineers to develop and implement “non-structural” flood damage reduction projects, such as property buyouts and protection of open space to maintain or restore floodplain ecosystem functions. Program is known as the Flood Mitigation and Riverine Restoration program or “Challenge 21.”

2000 – Water Resources Development Act – Authorized the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan in Florida, up to that point the largest ecosystem restoration project in the nation’s history.

2000 – Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act – Established the state wildlife grants program, which provides funding to the states to implement comprehensive state wildlife conservation strategies (known today as Wildlife Action Plans). In response to this funding opportunity, for the first time in history, every state and territory prepared a detailed blueprint for the conservation of the full array of species and habitats within its boundaries. Today, these Action Plans provide a roadmap for building a national habitat network for future generations.

2002 – Farm Security and Rural Investment Act – NWF was a major force in this renewal of the Farm Bill in securing the establishment of the Grasslands Reserve Program, a voluntary program to provide assistance to landowners in restoring, managing and protecting their grazing lands to prevent their conversion to other uses. 

2004 – Bunning-Bereauter-Blumenauer Flood Insurance Reform Act – Expanded NFIP funding for flood hazard mitigation and voluntary buyouts of repetitively flooded and severe repetitively flooded residences and businesses.

2006 – The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act – Reauthorized and increased the grants program from the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act of 1990. Also increased funding for National Fish and Wildlife Service regional projects proposed by states and tribes.

2007 – Water Resources Development Act – Set major policy reforms of Army Corps of Engineers water development programs sought by NWF and conservation organizations by requiring outside independent reviews of plans for costly and controversial Corps projects, detailed fish and wildlife mitigation plans and annual monitoring and reporting of progress toward mitigation success for all Corps projects and revision and modernization of quarter-century old federal water project planning rules called the Principles and Guidelines. Authorized large-scale ecosystem restoration projects for wetlands of Coastal Louisiana and the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.

2007 – Energy Independence and Security Act – Created the Renewable Fuel Standard, which increased bio-fuel standards, and significantly strengthened vehicle fuel economy standards.

2008 – Food Conservation and Energy Act – NWF developed the legislative concept and successfully lobbied for inclusion of a new program in the farm bill energy title, the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. This program is helping landowners begin to grow biomass crops in a sustainable manner, for next generation bio-fuels and bio-energy. NWF also helped to craft and win passage of the first-ever tax incentive for farmers to help recover threatened and endangered species. This new tax deduction for activities taken pursuant to Endangered Species Act recovery plans represented the first significant amendment to the ESA in twenty years, one that addresses a longstanding need to help those landowners who seek to go above and beyond the law to help endangered wildlife.

2008 – Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Water Resources Compact – Congress approved an eight-state Compact that rewrites the water laws of each of the eight states to protect the Great Lakes from diversions and unwise water use. NWF led the development of the Compact language and the campaign for its passage.

2008 – Great Lakes Legacy Act – Congress re-authorized the Great Lakes Legacy Act for another three years at $54 million per year. The program aims to clean up some of the most polluted sites around the region-so-called Areas of Concern-that suffer from a legacy of toxic pollution threatens the health of both people and wildlife. The next year the program received a significant boost in President Obama’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (see 2009). NWF and the coalition it co-chairs and staffs were leaders in this effort.

2008 – EPA Veto of Yazoo Backwater Pumps, MS – After more than sixty years of controversy, the USEPA applied a seldom used power under Section 404 (c) of the Clean Water Act to veto the Army Corps of Engineers proposed Yazoo Backwater Pumps project in the Mississippi Delta region of the State of Mississippi. This primarily land drainage project threatened to damage or destroy more than 200,000 acres of Mississippi Delta wetlands and bottomland hardwood forests, among the richest areas of waterfowl habitat and biological diversity in North America. For more than three decades NWF and affiliate Mississippi Wildlife Federation battled this ill-conceived project, joined by other NWF affiliates and conservation partners from across the nation.

2009 – Omnibus Public Lands Management Act – Designated three new national parks, four national trails, three conservation areas, ten national heritage areas, and a national monument in nine different states. The act added over 1,100 miles to the Wild and Scenic River system and increased wilderness areas by roughly two million acres. The act also codified the National Landscape Conservation System as part of the Department of the Interior. 

2009 – Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act – Working with conservation partners, NWF helped secure language authorizing the Obama administration to quickly repeal damaging Endangered Species Act regulations put in place at the eleventh hour of the Bush administration. The regulations would have eliminated the role of expert biologists in reviewing and modifying federal activities that are harmful to threatened and endangered species and their habitats. The Obama Administration quickly utilized its newly-won authority and voided the Bush regulations.

2009 – Great Lakes Restoration Initiative – After a 5-year campaign led by NWF, Congress approved and the President signed a $475 million appropriation for Great Lakes protection, the largest in history. This appropriation is the first year’s funding of the GLRI, a $5 billion commitment from President Obama.

Mon Oct 17 6:30pm Nockamixon Park Friends Group

Friends of Nockamixon State Park organizational meeting

Come form a non profit group that will work toward gaining funding and the manpower necessary for park projects that service the interests of the community and the park.  Maybe a way to combine forces with the Haycock Community Wildlife Habitat group.

Monday, 6:30 p.m. at the Nockamixon State Park Education Center.  Enter through the Marina entrance off Rte 563 and turn right at the stop sign.  Park in the first lot on the left, Lot 12.  Follow the trail to the Education Center.  Trail is dark and rocky – a flashlight is recommended.

More info: 215-529-7300 or


in NJ: Walk,film, & Rain Garden Training 10/16,17 &amp19-20

Sunday October 16th at 2pm at Rutgers Gardens – Wild Plant Walk Nut Foraging and Wild Fruit Gathering Taught by Dan Farella!
Check out the info on his website :
This is going to be an amazing plant walk, extremely educational and fun and you will walk away with many wild edibles!

Monday October 17th 7pm Livingston Hall Livingston Student Center; American Meat Film Screening and Discussion with Joel Salatin an amazing Farmer! 

Wed, Thurs October 19-20th   “RAIN GARDEN TRAINING PROGRAM”

Trenton – Isles, Inc. along with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water
Resources Program are offering a two-day training workshop for individuals
looking to learn the skills to install and maintain a rain garden.  The
two-day training includes both classroom and field time, including an actual
rain garden installation at a Trenton City site.  Rutgers Cooperative
Extension’s rain garden experts will teach attendees what they need to know
to get started with their rain garden projects, from the site selection to
the choice of plants. 

Rain gardens are beautiful, inexpensive, and low-maintenance gardens
designed to intercept, treat, and infiltrate stormwater at the source, such
as a rooftop or driveway, before it becomes runoff.  The plants are native
to the region and help retain contaminants that could otherwise harm nearby
waterways.  Isles, Inc., along with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water
Resources Program invite all interested individuals to attend the “Rain
Garden Training Program” educational program.  The program is funded by New
Jersey Sea Grant Consortium and the USDA NIFA Northeast States and Caribbean
Islands Regional Water Center.

The first day of this educational program will be held on Wednesday, October
19th at the Isles’ YouthBuild Institute and the Center for Energy and
Environmental Training, located at 33 Tucker Street in Trenton, New Jersey.
The second day of this program will be held on Thursday, October 20th at a
Trenton City site to be announced at the October 19th program.  Please
register online at

The cost of this program is $25.00, which covers the cost of the Rain Garden
Manual of New Jersey ($10.00 value), refreshments, and lunch for the first
day of training.  For businesses that would like to send more than one
person to the program, there is a discounted rate of $15.00 for each
additional person.  This Rutgers Cooperative Extension “Rain Garden Training
Program” program is open to the public without regard to sex, race, color,
national origin, disability, handicap, or age.  The program information is
also available on the RCE Water Resources Program website at <> .