Ohio buzzes for pollinator habitat.
(2014) Ohio DOT, Pheasants Forever and online research. There’s a small army of governmental agencies that are planting bee-friendly pollinator habitat. The two-fold concept is to 1) create habitat and 2) reduce maintenance expense through less mowing.
Ohio Department of Transportation partnered with Pheasants Forever, planted two, 1-acre plots along state Route 207 in Ross County in spring 2014. Species included native prairie plants for pollinators, flowers and grasses.
It’s planned that the sites will take about three years to mature. Plantings will be maintained below 6 in. in the first year and below 1 ft. in the second. After that, they’ll be allowed to grow to full height.
The seed mix included a roughly 60/40 forb to grass ratio by weight: Schizachyrium scoparium (Little Bluestem) 25%; Elymus canadensis (nodding wild rye) 25%; Sorghastrum nutans (Indian grass) 12.5%; Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower) 4.7%; Baptisia alba (macrophylla) (white wild indigo) 4.7%; Ratibida pinnata (yellow coneflower) 4.7%; Coreopsis lanceolata 3%; Asclepius tuberosa (butterfly weed) 2.8%; Liatris spicata 2.8%; Lespedeza capitata (foundheaded bush clover) 2.5%; Aster novae-angliae (New England aster) 1.6%; Coreopsis tripteris (tall coreopsis) 1.6%; Rudbeckia speciosa sullivantii (showy black-eyed Susan) 1.6%; Silphium terebinthinaceum (prairie dock) 1.6%; Solidado rigida (stiff goldenrod) 1.6%; Monarda fistulosa 1.6%; Aster laevis (smooth aster) 1.6% and Rudbeckia hirta 1.3%.
This isn’t the first time Ohio DOT has created pollinator habitat. Several years ago they worked with Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Pheasants Forever to create habitats for monarch butterflies, pheasants and other wildlife in a prairie area along Rt. 36 in Darke County.
Meanwhile, in Medina County, the Ohio Environmental Education Fund (OEEF) has awarded a grant for “Beekeepers Collaborating to Create Pollinator Habitats,” a partnership of Medina County Beekeepers Association, The Ohio State Beekeepers Association and the Pollinator Stewardship Council.
The grant will fund the development of pollinator habitat on a combined total of 36 acres of corporate land in northeast and southwest Ohio. Four corporate land partners have committed to creating and maintaining the habitat for a minimum of five years. Land partners are CEMEX, Inc., Remington Products Company, the Department of Veterans Affairs in Dayton, and Professional Services Providers of Wadsworth, LLC. All of the land used for habitat will remain private property, and will be transformed into pollinator habitat during 2015.