Six states' transportation departments and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently agreed to implement measures to improve habitats along Interstate 35 (I-35) for pollinating species.
The parties signed the memo of agreement at the AASHTO Board of Directors meeting recently in Des Moines, Iowa.
These measures would include the installation of plants to act as a source of food and refuge for travelling Monarch butterflies, a major pollinating species along the I-35 corridor. The following states signed the memorandum: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Minnesota.
"State roadways have acres and acres of habitat ideal for pollinators,” Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle said. "We should strive to build awareness of pollinator needs along the Interstate 35 corridor. With some careful planning, we can ensure that Monarch butterflies and other creatures that pollinate are able to thrive, which ultimately benefits our food sources and us."
The plan would be in line with one issued by the White House to improve the health of pollinating species in the U.S. Pollinating species include honeybees, butterflies, birds and bats, and they add approximately $15 billion to agricultural crop values on an annual basis, the White House said.
Beekeepers have reported declining colonies of honeybees, with some falling by as much as 40 percent.