Rusty patched bumblebee joins endangered species list

FILE - This 2016 file photo provided by The Xerces Society shows a rusty patched bumblebee in Minnesota. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, officially designated the bee an endangered species. It is the first bee species in the continental U.S. to receive federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. The listing was announced in January and had been scheduled to take effect Feb. 10. But the Trump administration ordered a last-minute review and postponed the listing until Tuesday. (Sarah Foltz Jordan/The Xerces Society via AP, File)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) – The rusty patched bumblebee is officially an endangered species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the designation took effect Tuesday, making the rusty patched bumblebee the first bee species in the continental U.S. to receive federal protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Advocates say the bee has disappeared from about 90 percent of its range in the past 20 years. Bees are crucial for pollinating crops and wild plants.

The listing was announced in January and had been scheduled to take effect Feb. 10. But the Trump administration ordered a last-minute review and postponed the listing until Tuesday. Some environmentalists had feared the designation could be canceled.

The Natural Resources Defense Council filed a lawsuit over the delay, saying it had been ordered without required public notice and comment.

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