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.
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.