bumblebee on flowering plant

Plant diversity, pollinators and other wildlife species provide essential roles with food systems, sustaining ecological systems and meeting goals for soil and water conservation. This page summarizes BWSR’s Pollinator and Biodiversity Initiative and lists key programs and resources that address these topics.      

BWSR Pollinator and Biodiversity Initiative


The decline of wildlife populations, including beneficial insects (pollinators, butterflies, dragonflies, etc.), birds, amphibians and other species, is a significant concern for conservation professionals and residents of Minnesota. These species provide a foundation for food production, food webs and native ecosystems. Their loss results from a variety of factors including habitat loss, invasive species, pesticides, climate change, and diseases. The BWSR Pollinator and Biodiversity Initiative provides an approach to more effectively support all wildlife and native plant populations as part of conservation projects.


  • Increase awareness about declining wildlife and plant populations including causes and solutions
  • Incorporate effective habitat across all types of landscapes as part of BWSR conservation programs
  • Focus on the biological health of restored and natural plant communities to maximize soils and water conservation benefits
  • Support conservation partners by providing funding, outreach and technical resources

Scope and Approach

This initiative is focused on working with conservation partners to create a network of strategic habitat across Minnesota landscapes to benefit a wide range of plant and animal species.  A large number of partners are involved in conservation efforts in Minnesota and play a role in this initiative including: Soil & Water Conservation Districts, Watershed Districts, Minnesota Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Transportation, NRCS, University of Minnesota, tribal nations, cities, counties, environmental non-profit organizations and many other conservation, outreach and education partners.

A primary goal is to increase the extent and effectiveness of habitat efforts to build landscape resiliency and support at-risk species. This will be accomplished through building awareness about at-risk species, incorporating pollinator habitat and biodiversity when practical across BWSR programs and continuing to refine key BWSR technical resources. See the list of BWSR program and resources further below.

Habitat Program Examples













A variety of habitat programs play a key role in creating important connections across landscapes that are essential for wildlife species. BWSR programs represented in the graphic above complement conservation landscapes managed by other state agencies, federal agencies and conservation partners such as the Nature Conservancy, Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited.

BWSR Programs

Lawns to Legumes Program (residential landscape focused pollinator program)

Habitat Friendly Solar Program (recognizes habitat as part of grounded-mounted solar projects)

Pilot Beneficial Insect Program (strategic habitat on conservation lands and natural areas for a wide range of beneficial insects)

Conservation Easements  (restored prairie, wetland, forest and shoreline easements)

Clean Water Fund Projects (habitat is a secondary benefit of water quality projects)

Wetland Mitigation/Banking  (high quality restored wetlands and buffers)

Forest Stewardship Planning

Cooperative Weed Management Area Program (partnerships to share resources and manage invasive species across ownership boundaries)


For more information contact: Dan Shaw at Dan.Shaw@state.mn.us.

Pollinator Initiative Resources

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Dan Shaw
Senior Ecologist/Vegetation Specialist