Agreement turns I-35 into pollinator haven | Finance & Commerce

GR:  It is definitely time to get serious about pollinator protection.  Unfortunately, this agreement is not binding and it does not mention mowing or herbicides, the principal roadside vegetation management tools of departments of transportation.  If I-35 roadsides start to become wild and rough, it will be a sign that the effort to aid pollinators is sincere.  Fingers crossed!

DES MOINES, Iowa — Soon, passengers zipping along Interstate 35 will see a lusher refuge and more food for bees and butterflies in the hopes of helping the insects boost their declining populations, six states and the Federal Highway Administration announced Thursday.

That 1,500-mile stretch of road from northern Minnesota to southern Texas is a flyway for monarch butterflies that migrate between Mexico and Canada, and is surrounded by acres of public land that can serve as friendly territory for the bees and butterflies that pollinate the plants that produce much of the nation’s food, such as fruits and vegetables.

But the monarch butterfly has lost population in recent years, which researchers say is due in part to shrinking stands of milkweed, on which butterflies feed and lay eggs. And last year, beekeepers reported losing about 40 percent of honey bee colonies in part due to pesticide use, habitat loss and parasites.

The agreement signed Thursday by officials from Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas and the federal government is meant to improve the habitat and develop a branding campaign to informally name the interstate the Monarch Highway.  Source: Agreement turns I-35 into pollinator haven | Finance & Commerce

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