The state of Minnesota, in its latest attempt to establish more bee-friendly wild habitats, is paying residents to replace their lawns and convert them into something that will benefit local pollinator wildlife.
Lawmakers in Minnesota have boldly set aside a sum of $900K to encourage and assist homeowners to successfully convert their lawns into a more bee-friendly habitat by planting clover, wildflowers and native grasses.
The hope is that this program will help to slow down the collapse of Minnesota’s bee population. Read on for the full story.
Minnesota – home to many diverse species of bumble bee
Minnesota, which is home to more than 450 native bee species, is one American state lucky enough to boast that it is also home to many incredibly diverse species of bumble bee.
In fact, Minnesota is home to 22 of North America’s 49 species of bumble bee. This includes several species in dire need of conservation.
Through the implementation of the Lawns to Legumes program, it is hoped that many bees and other pollinators such as butterflies, beetles, hummingbirds, moths and flies, all of which play a crucial role in pollinating many food crops and native plants, will see a benefit.
The rusty patched bumblebee, in particular, will benefit greatly. This particular species is on the brink of extinction.
The Lawns to Legumes program – aims to protect at-risk pollinators
The Lawns to Legumes program aims to protect all at-risk pollinators. However, in particular, it hopes to protect the federally endangered state bee known as the rusty patched bumblebee.
The program has great potential to help bees as it has been proven that even relatively small plantings of native flowering plants can positively affect pollinators by helping to establish important habitat corridors.
The program, which is being run by the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) and will cover up to 75% of the cost of each conversion project (up to $350) and up to 90% in areas which have been described as having a “high potential” to support the endangered rusty patched bees.
The Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources (BWSR) has the power to decide who will be issued grants. The board has stressed that areas where rusty patched bumblebees live will be prioritised.
Encouraging homeowners to update their lawns – making lawns more bee-friendly
To aid their efforts of encouraging and helping homeowners convert their lawns into bee-friendly habitats, the Legislature approved a spending plan.
As part of this spending plan, the state of Minnesota is putting aside $900,000 over the year. The express goal is to assist homeowners in converting their traditional-style lawns. They will convert them by planting wildflowers, native grasses and clover.
The overall goal is to help stall the collapse of the bee population. Read more about the program here.