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The National Academies

NCHRP 25-59 [Active]

Pollinator Habitat Conservation Along Roadways

  Project Data
Funds: $490,000
Staff Responsibility: William C. Rogers
Research Agency: ICF
Principal Investigator: Jennifer Hopwood
Effective Date: 8/1/2019
Completion Date: 8/1/2022
Comments: Research underway.

BACKGROUND
 
Pollinating insect populations are declining. As a result, there is increased interest in protecting pollinators along roadways. State departments of transportation (DOTs) and other transportation agencies are being encouraged by, and proactively partnering with, many right-of-way (ROW) stakeholders to establish or conserve pollinator habitat. This can result in a significant change in ROW management and will require new or updated practices for planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining habitat, as well as staff training. If widely distributed insect populations continue to decline they may be considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act. If listed, capacity improvement projects and ROW maintenance practices may have a greater potential to negatively affect or for “take” of these listed species.
 
The purpose of this research is to share knowledge of successful practices and lessons learned from states where pollinator species have been listed, and to show how to implement integrated pollinator habitat programs.
 
 
OBJECTIVE
 
The objective of this research is to develop a guidebook for state DOTs and other ROW owners and operators to make informed decisions and implement tailored programs to maximize the potential to improve insect pollinator habitat. The guidebook should consider geographical, adjacent land use and ecological contexts, roadway characteristics and safety, and public benefits.
 
The guidebook should address the following as a minimum:

1. Assessment of proactive Endangered Species Act compliance approaches (e.g., pre-listing agreements, Candidate Conservation Agreements, Habitat Conservation Plans);
2. Existing maintenance practices that affect insect pollinator habitat;
3. Assessment of existing systems planning, design, and construction practices that positively or negatively impact habitat;
4. Approaches to site, create, and restore habitat including the long-term maintenance considerations, and performance measures and assessment;
5. Approaches to adapt habitat to environmental changes;
6. Communication plans for internal and external audiences (e.g., senior management, business owners, the general public, roadway maintenance personnel) on pollinator habitat importance and best management practices;
7. Benefit-cost implications; and
8. Coordination plans with other agencies that manage insects.
 
The guidebook should include flexible decision-making processes and products to enable ROW owners and operators to develop integrated practices to promote insect pollinator habitat.
 
RESEARCH PLAN
 
The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers’ current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective.
 
A kick-off conference call with the research team and NCHRP shall be scheduled within 1 month of the contract’s execution. The work plan must be divided into two phases as determined by the proposer. Each phase must be organized by task, with each task described in detail. 
 
Phase I will culminate with the submission of (1) an interim report describing the work completed in the Phase I tasks; (2) an updated work plan for the Phase II tasks; (3) a white paper on the assessment of proactive Endangered Species Act compliance approaches (e.g., pre-listing agreements, Candidate Conservation Agreements, Habitat Conservation Plans); (4) a draft guidebook; and (5) a plan for a Phase II peer exchange at the Beckman Center in Irvine, CA, to review the draft guidebook with stakeholders. There must be an interim meeting with NCHRP to discuss the results of Phase I. Work on Phase II tasks will not begin until the interim report and updated work plan are approved by NCHRP.
 
Phase II shall include the peer exchange and the development and submission of the revised guidebook.
 
Note: The costs for the peer exchange, including invitational travel for 50 state attendees, shall be included in the detailed budget for the research. NCHRP will cover costs associated with hosting of the peer exchange as well as the cost of travel for NCHRP panel members.
 
The final deliverables, at a minimum, will include: (1) a guidebook for state DOTs and other ROW owners and operators to make informed decisions and implement tailored programs to maximize the potential for improved insect pollinator habitat; (2) a final report documenting the entire project and incorporating all other specified deliverable products of the research; (3) an editable electronic presentation of the guidebook that can be tailored for specific audiences and is suitable for training; (4) a video product to inform stakeholders about the guidebook; (5) a short video product to inform the general public about the importance of improving pollinator insect habitat along ROWs; (6) recommendations for additional research; and (7) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” (see Special Note B for additional information).
 
Note: NCHRP must approve the scripts, storyboard, and video products prior to production.
 
Note: Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, the remaining 3 months shall be for NCHRP review and comment and for research agency preparation of the final deliverables.
 
STATUS: Research underway.

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