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PRAIRIES & POLLINATORS

WHAT MAKES GOOD POLLINATOR HABITAT?

Pollinators are everywhere.  Pollinators is a general term for native and honey bees, butterflies and moths, and other insects (and mammals) that assist plants with completing the cycle of life from flower to fruit, seed, and young plants by bringing pollen from the male part of the flower (stamen) to the female part of the same or another flower (stigma).  

Major threats to our butterflies and bees include disease and pesticides, habitat destruction, fragmentation, and degradation of remnant prairies that provide both nectar and host plants.  There are many ways to improve habitat for pollinators in your backyard, vegetable or flower garden, as well as the prairie, woodlands and savanna.

WHAT IS HAPPENING TO POLLINATORS?

“...the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.”

- Wendell Berry

Major threats to our butterflies and bees include disease and pesticides, habitat destruction, fragmentation, and degradation of remnant prairies that provide both nectar and host plants.  There are many ways to improve habitat for pollinators in your backyard, vegetable or flower garden, as well as the prairie, woodlands and savanna.

RESOURCES

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The Iowa State University Monarch Research Team developed this seed mix to benefit (1) monarch butterflies; (2) the rusty patched bumble bee; and (3) a wide variety of other native and non-native pollinators. The plant species were selected to perform in well-drained and moderately welldrained soils. The seed mix contains 37 species of nectar- and pollenproducing forbs (wildflowers). The diversity of forbs will provide floral resources throughout the entire growing season.

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The Xerces Society
Pollinator Meadow
Upper Midwest Installation Guide and Checklist


These instructions provide in-depth guidance on how to install nectar and pollen habitat for bees in the form of native wildflower meadows in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. To plan a specific project use this guide with the checklist found at the end of the document.

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Management of Prairie Meadows by Neil Diboll, Prairie Nursery

 

Native prairie meadows are a low maintenance alternative to
high maintenance lawns and traditional landscapes. They are not, however, no maintenance landscapes. Some simple, but essential, post-planting care is necessary for successful establishment and long-term performance.

The Xerces Society
Interseeding Wildflowers to Diversify Grasslands for Pollinators


Native bees, honey bees, monarch butterflies, and other pollinators important to our ecosystems and agriculture need grassland wildflowers to survive. The recent declines of these pollinators have elevated the urgency to diversify stands dominated by grasses or weeds by incorporating wildflowers.

This publication provides guidelines and specific strategies for interseeding wildflowers into established grasslands and identifies species of wildflowers most likely to establish and persist in the Midwest and Great Plains.

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Native Prairie Hay Meadows: A Landowner’s Management Guide by The Kansas Natural Heritage Inventory

The rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) is listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This species has specific habitat requirements, including high quality foraging resources, nesting sites, overwintering sites, and protection from pesticides, introduced diseases, and other disturbances. This tool is meant to help educate conservation planners and landowners, prioritize conservation actions, and quantify habitat or land management improvements for the rusty patched bumble bee on a single site.

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Renovating Native Warm-season Grass Stands for Wildlife by Purdue Extension Forestry and Natural Resources

 

One of the main issues in NWSG stands is too much grass. When native grasses become rank, the structure at ground level closes, making it difficult for ground-dwelling wildlife to move
and forage.

This publication provides recommendations for renovating planted NWSG fields using management techniques including disking,
prescribed fire, and herbicide application.

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Native Prairie Hay Meadows: A Landowner’s Management Guide by The Kansas Natural Heritage Inventory

In this booklet, you will find information about  managing, restoring, and preserving native prairies. It is written for the broadest possible audience, from those who have recently purchased or inherited their land, to those who have spent their lifetimes working and enjoying their prairies.

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Mowing and Management: Best Practices for Monarchs

Understanding when monarchs are present allows land managers to time management practices like burning, mowing, grazing, or targeted pesticide application when they are least likely to harm monarchs.

The following recommendations are intended to reduce harm to monarchs based on breeding and migration
activity.

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Monarch Joint Venture There are many free resources that you can use to educate yourself and others about monarchs. There are also many online resources about monarchs, milkweed, establishing habitat, and monarch conservation topics. MJV has compiled many of these online resources for you to use.

Any MJV Handouts PDFs can be downloaded and printed for free, and we encourage you to do so!

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Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection has developed a Pollinator Protection Plan for Farms.  It contains best management practices for maximizing pollinator health and pollination series on farms. 

Prairie Establishment Flow Chart: Old Field or CRP Conversion

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For more information contact Cindy Becker, 

Southern Driftless Grasslands Coordinator, 

(608) 930-3252 or email at cindy@driftlessconservancy.org

Driftless Area Land Conservancy is an accredited non-profit land trust in Southwest Wisconsin. All images and text on this site are property of Driftless Area Land Conservancy and/or are being used with permission from the authors and photographers. Please do not share or distribute text, images or any site content without expressed, written permission.

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2021 Southern Driftless Grasslands. Web design by Mayme Keagy