Pollinators, such as honey bees and native pollinators, birds, bats, and butterflies, are essential to healthy ecosystems and are vital partners in American agriculture. Honey bees, monarch butterflies and other native pollinators are suffering drastic population losses, due in part to loss of habitat.
Highway right-of-ways (ROWs) managed by State Departments of Transportation (State DOTs) represent about 17 million acres of opportunity where significant economic and conservation/environmental benefits can be achieved through integrated vegetation management (IVM) practices, that canundefined
- Significantly reduce mowing and maintenance costs for State DOTs, and
- Help create habitat, forage and migratory corridors that will contribute to the health of honey bees, monarch butterflies and other native pollinators, as well as ground nesting birds and other small wildlife.
Neighboring agricultural lands and wildlife ecosystems will benefit through improved pollination services.
The Highways BEE Act directs the Secretary of Transportation to use existing authorities, programs and funding to encourage and facilitate IVM and pollinator habitat efforts by willing State DOTs and other transportation ROWs managers, building on innovative IVM efforts in a growing number of State DOTs.
- H.R. 4790 promotes conservation practices on 17 million acres of highway rights-of-way (ROWs) by encouraging willing State DOTs to reduce mowing and plant for pollinators, providing improved habitat for pollinators, ground nesting birds and other small wildlife.
- Important to act quickly, as transportation reauthorization legislation appears to be on a fast track in Congress.
- The goal is to get an amendment based on the Highways BEE Act in that important legislation.
- This legislation is nearly identical to a bill introduced by Rep Alcee Hastings in 2011, and widely supported by 28 national organizations and business, 175 regional organizations, 46 researchers and over 1,500 individuals. Regrettably, those good efforts fell short. We don’t want to fall short in helping pollinators this time!
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