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Available funding for habitat projects plays a key role in the support of pollinator populations. The table below summarizes state and federal water quality and habitat focused conservation programs that can be used to restore pollinator habitat as primary or secondary project goals. Also included is a table summarizing the partners who are working to restore and/or protect pollinator habitat in Minnesota and the role of the agency or organization.

Most of the state programs listed in the table are focused on solving water quality issues or providing high quality habitat and are competitive grant programs. The federal sources listed generally have primary goals of restoring habitat and environmental quality as part of agricultural production.

Local conservation districts and watershed districts are generally the most knowledgeable about what state and federal programs may be the best fit for an individual project; and if there are other “local” sources of funding that could be used for smaller projects that may not be eligible for state or federal funding. 

 

Identifying Programs, Funding and Partner Roles for Minnesota Pollinator Habitat

This table is designed to aid the selection of conservation programs that can be used to restore pollinator habitat. The table summarizes state and federal programs, and sources of additional match. Landowners should work with local NRCS, SWCD, Watershed District or DNR staff as needed for additional guidance.

Identifying Programs & Funding for MN Pollinator Habitat

Program Category

Program

Program Goals

How to Incorporate Pollinator Habitat

State Program

Clean Water Fund (BWSR)

(Urban or Agricultural Land)

To protect, enhance, and restore lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater.

These competitive grants focus on water quality issues. However, plantings done as part of projects such as rain gardens or stormwater basins encourage secondary benefits such as pollinator habitat. Plans for restoring pollinator habitats should be included in the competitive grant application. There is no minimum acreage size for projects.

State Program

State Cost-Share (BWSR)

(Urban or Agricultural Land)

To provide grants for installing conservation practices that protect and improve water quality by controlling soil erosion and reducing sedimentation.

This program involves partnerships with local Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Diverse plantings are encourages and should be included in project plans when applicable for the project type to provide pollinator habitat. There is no minimum acreage size for projects.

State Program

Reinvest in Minnesota RIM (BWSR)

(Agricultural Land)

To restore marginal and environmentally sensitive agricultural land, protect soil and water quality, and restore fish and wildlife habitat.

A competitive process is used to select lands for the establishment of permanent conservation easements. The land remains in private ownership and the landowner retains responsibility for maintenance. Diverse mixes are promoted for plantings, and separate floral rich pollinator plantings of a few acres in size can be included. Funding may also be available to enhance diversity in existing plantings. There is a three acre minimum size for projects.

State Program

Lawns to Legumes

(Residential Land)

A new program focused on planting residential lawns with native vegetation and pollinator friendly forbs and legumes to protect a diversity of pollinators.  This project was funded by the legislature in 2019 and is still in planning stages. The goal is to distribute funds to local conservation partners later this year, who will distribute funds to landowners. Ideally this will lead to projects starting to be installed in Spring or Summer of 2020. Check web link for updates.

State Program

Roadsides for Wildlife (MDNR)

(Agricultural Land)

To reduce disturbance of roadside cover until after August 1st. Include native prairie species in roadside plantings. Explain the benefits of a diverse and undisturbed roadside environment.

Currently funding is not available for this program. The following things can be done to promote roadside habitat for pollinators: improve the management of your adjacent roadsides for wildlife. Encourage other landowners and local road authorities to reduce mowing and haying during the nesting season. Promote pollinator cost-share assistance for new or re-vegetated roadside projects. Discuss opportunities to partner on roadside projects with local road authorities.

State Program

Conservation Partners Legacy Grant Program CPL (MDNR)

(Agricultural Land)

To enhance, restore, or protect the forests, wetlands, prairies, and habitat for fish, game, or wildlife in Minnesota.

These Competitive grants focused on wildlife habitat are provided to local, regional, state, and national nonprofit organizations, including government entities. Diverse plantings are promoted for projects and detailed information about plans for restoring pollinator habitat should be included in grant applications. There is no minimum acreage size for projects.

State Program

Living Snow Fences (MN DOT)

(Agricultural Land)

To protect roadways and provide multiple environmental and agricultural benefits.

Funding is available to install living snow fences and guidance is provided about how to best benefit pollinators with the plantings.

Federal Program

Conservation Reserve Program CRP and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program CREP (FSA)

(Agricultural Land)

To retire and convert highly erodible cropland and other environmentally sensitive acreage to vegetative cover.

Funding is available to provide 50% cost-share for pollinator plantings using practice standard CP42 that require 3 species from each bloom period (9 minimum) and a minimum 75% forbs in plantings. 10-15 year contracts are used for CRP. There is no minimum acreage size for projects. There is also a new mid-contract management option to enhance honey bee habitat through establishment of honey bee beneficial cover.

Federal Program

Conservation Stewardship Program CSP (NRCS)

(Agricultural Land)

To encourage agricultural producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner.

Pollinator plantings are eligible through this program. The plantings require a minimum of 15 species and a minimum of 50% forbs, as well as species selected from each flowering group of spring, summer, and fall are required. There is no minimum acreage size for projects.

Federal Program

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program ACEP (NRCS)

(Agricultural Land)

To provide support for grazing operations, enhancement of plant and animal biodiversity, and restoration and protection of grasslands under threat of conversion to other uses

Agricultural Lands Easements (ALE) – Participants may conduct prescribed burning, and construct fences to improve diversity and grassland quality. Enrollment options include 30 year or permanent easements. A grazing management plan is required for participants that can address management for pollinator species. There is no minimum acreage size for projects.

Federal Program

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program ACEP (NRCS)

(Agricultural Land)

Provides assistance to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands and adjacent uplands through wetland reserve easements and plans.

Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) – Enrollment options include 30 year or permanent easements. A restoration plan is required for participants that can provide specific guidance on seed mixes and management to benefit pollinator species. There is no minimum size for projects.

Federal Program

Environmental Quality Incentives Program EQIP (NRCS)

(Agricultural Land)

To promote compatibility between agricultural production and environmental quality through technical and financial assistance.

Funding is available for pollinator habitat with a focus on supporting honey bees. Through an agreement landowners agree to maintain the practice (1-10 years). There is a minimum of 75% forbs for seed mixes, as well as species selected from each flowering group for spring, summer, and fall are required for pollinator plantings. There is no minimum acreage size for projects. The program also provides funding for the development of a Pollinator “Conservation Activity Plan” (CAP) to maximize pollinator habitat.

Federal Program

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Grassland and Wetland Restoration (USFWS)

(Agricultural Land)

To improve water and soil quality, restore wildlife habitat, enhance pollinator habitat, and facilitate flood control by providing financial and restoration assistance.

Grassland Restoration – A 50% cost-share for restoration work is provided for sites of a minimum of 10 acres, except for school gardens, for 15 years. Uplands with existing restorable wetlands present are preferred. The USFWS or a local conservation organization may work with the land owner to prepare and seed the site. Native vegetation is planted using site specific forb dominated seed mixes focusing on pollinator habitat. There is no haying or grazing typically allowed.

USFWS also enhances seed mixes for butterflies and bees for school yard gardens and may offer assistance for cost-share on a host of lands. Lands enrolled in CRP, WRP, CREP, or other conservation programs may also be eligible.

Federal Program

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Grassland and Wetland Restoration (USFWS)

(Agricultural Land)

To improve water and soil quality, restore wildlife habitat, and facilitate flood control by providing financial and restoration assistance.

Wetlands Restoration – A 50% cost-share for restoration work is provided for sites of a minimum of 10 acres for 10 years. Areas where restoration is needed for present wetlands are considered, for example areas where a small ditch can be plugged or tile can be broken. There are no restrictions on haying or grazing.

Federal Program

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat and Wetland Easements (USFWS) (Agricultural Land)

To improve water and soil quality, restore wildlife habitat, enhance pollinator habitat, and facilitate flood control through perpetual easements.

Habitat Easement – A one lump payment is given based on fair market value determined by the USFWS appraiser. Payments vary by restrictions on use or location of the easement. Tracts with existing or restorable grasslands and wetlands are considered. The landowner maintains ownership, controls access, and pays taxes; haying and grazing options are available. The USFWS maintains the right to manage the habitat on the easement. Native forb dominated seed mixes are used to best promote pollinator habitat.

Federal Program

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat and Wetland Easements (USFWS)

(Agricultural Land)

To improve water and soil quality, restore wildlife habitat, and facilitate flood control through perpetual easements.

Wetland Easement – A one lump payment is given based on fair market value determined by the USFWS appraiser. Naturally occurring or restorable wetlands are considered. The landowner maintains ownership and the rights to hay, graze, and farm when conditions allow, as well as controlling access, and paying taxes. The USFWS maintains the right to manage the habitat on the easement.

Match Sources for Programs

  • Landowner Match
  • Local Foundations
  • Garden Clubs
  • Soil & Water Conservation Districts
  • Counties
  • Private Companies
  • Local Sportsman’s Clubs
  • Environmental Non-Profits
  • Watershed Districts
  • Cities
  • Lake Associations
  • Neighborhood Associations
  • Master Gardeners
  • Schools
  • School Clubs

Public & Non-Profit Partners Restoring and Protecting Pollinator Habitat

Organization

Description

Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund

The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund identifies opportunities to establish critical pollinator habitat to help honey bee and monarch butterfly populations thrive. http://beeandbutterflyfund.org/

Bee Informed Partnership

The Bee Informed Partnership is dedicated to working with beekeepers to better understand which management practices work best. https://beeinformed.org/

Bee Kind MN

To provide homes for the rapidly declining native bee populations in a sustainable way and to share our knowledge with the world. https://www.beekindmn.org/

Environmental Quality Board

To coordinate state agency pollinator restoration and protection efforts. https://www.eqb.state.mn.us/content/pollinators

Friends of the Mississippi River

Engages people to protect, restore, and enhance the Mississippi River and its watershed in the Twin Cities region. https://fmr.org/

Green River Greening

Inspires, engages, and leads local communities in conserving and caring for the land and water that enriches our lives. https://www.greatrivergreening.org

Humming for Bees

A grassroots, 100% volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to contributing to a sustainable future for bees and other pollinators. http://www.hummingforbees.org

MN Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MAWSCD)

A nonprofit organization which exists to provide leadership and a common voice for Minnesota’s soil and water conservation districts and to maintain a positive, results-oriented relationship with rule making agencies, partners, and legislators. https://www.maswcd.org/

MN Association of Watershed Districts (MAWD)

Provides educational opportunities, information, and training for watershed district managers and staff through yearly tours, meetings, and regular communication. http://www.mnwatershed.org/

MN Department of Administration

Incorporating pollinator habitat onto the Capitol Grounds and other state properties. https://mn.gov/admin/

MN Department of Agriculture (MDA)

Protect pollinator habitat in agricultural lands, conduct education to reduce harmful impacts on pollinators, and improve and create new pollinator habitat. http://www.mda.state.mn.us/pollinators

MN Department of Education (MDE)

Incorporate pollinator habitat lessons into the classroom. http://education.state.mn.us/mde/

MN Department of Natural Resources (MDNR)

Restore pollinator habitat on DNR lands, create pollinator Best Management Practices, and study native pollinators. http://dnr.state.mn.us/pollinators

Metro Blooms/Blue Thumb

To promote and celebrate gardening, to beautify our communities and help heal and protect our environment. https://metroblooms.org/

Minnesota Bee Keepers Association

To educate our members and the public about bees, beekeeping, and bee products. https://www.mnbeekeepers.com/

Minnesota Cities and Counties

Restore and protect pollinator habitat as part of natural resource management and landscape plantings.

Minnesota Zoo

The Minnesota Zoo is committed to saving Minnesota’s endangered prairie butterflies, educating the public about pollinators and what they can do to help, and practicing pollinator-friendly landscaping. http://www.mnzoo.org/plantforpollinators

MN Department of Corrections

Restore pollinator habitat on Dept. of Correction’s lands with garden program

MN Department of Transportation (MNDOT)

MNDOT manages approximately 175,000 acres of green space in Minnesota and conducts planting of native seed mixes. http://www.dot.state.mn.us/pollinators/

MN Honey Producers Association

A nonprofit organization made up of commercial and hobby beekeepers seeking to promote use of honey and to provide a better understanding of the role of honeybees. http://www.minnesotahoneyproducers.org/

Monarch Joint Venture

Brings together partners from across the United States in a unified effort to conserve the monarch migration by implementing science-based habitat conservation and restoration measures. https://monarchjointventure.org/

MN Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)

Implement pollinator restoration guidelines on MPCA lands. https://www.pca.state.mn.us/featured/bring-back-pollinators

National Park Service

Preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. https://www.nps.gov/subjects/pollinators

Pesticide Action Network North America

Work to create a just, thriving food system. http://www.panna.org/

Pheasants Forever

Nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. https://www.pheasantsforever.org

Pollinator Friendly Alliance

Protects and restores pollinators to improve the environment and sustain our food supply. https://www.pollinatorfriendly.org/

Pollinate Minnesota

Working toward a better Minnesota for pollinators and people by teaching immersive education classes, establish education hives, and advocate for pollinator-friendly policies. http://www.pollinatemn.org

Pollinator Partnership

Nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems. http://pollinator.org/

Pollinator Revival

Illustrates how gardens and landscape professionals can help populations of pollinators and other beneficial insects recover by making simple changes. http://pollinatorrevival.org/

UMN Bee Lab

Conducts research to promote the health of bee pollinators. https://www.beelab.uwn.edu/

UMN Bee Atlas Citizen Science

A citizen science program designed to use volunteer participants to create a state-wide list of native bees found in Minnesota. https://www.extension.umn.edu/environment/citizen-science/bee-atlas/

UMN Bee Squad

Helps beekeepers and the community in the Twin Cities area foster healthy bee populations and pollinator landscapes through education and hands-on mentorship. https://www.beelab.umn.edu/bee-squad

UMN Bell Museum of Natural History

Ignite curiosity and wonder, explore our connections to nature and the universe, and create a better future for our evolving world. https://www.bellmuseum.umn.edu/

UMN Landscape Arboretum Bee & Pollinator Discovery Center

To welcome, inform, and inspire all through outstanding displays, protected natural areas, research, and education. http://www.arboretum.umn.edu/

USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS)

Provides America’s farmers and ranchers with financial and technical assistance to voluntarily put conservation on the ground. https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/plantsanimals/pollinate/

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

Working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish and wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. https://www.fws.gov/pollinators/

Wild Ones

A nonprofit organization with local chapters that teaches about the many benefits of growing native wildflowers in people’s yards. http://www.wildones.org

Xerces Society

An international nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats. https://xerces.org/

Contact

Dan Shaw
Senior Ecologist/Vegetation Specialist