30 January 2020

Minnesota pays homeowners to make lawns bee-friendly

A new spending program approved by lawmakers in 2019 called Lawns to Legumes sets aside $900,000 annually to pay homeowners who replace traditional lawns with bee-friendly wildflowers, clover and native grasses, The Star Tribune reported. It's part of a larger effort to help the state's declining bee population.

Although the wildflowers and native grasses will benefit all species of bees, the hope is that unmanicured lawns will specifically attract and help the rusty patched bumblebee. Once abundant across a wide swath of North America, the bee species (Bombus affinis) was formally listed as endangered in March 2017. The fuzzy, striped critters have suffered an 87% decline in population since the mid-1990s due to factors such as climate change, pesticide exposure, habitat loss, population fragmentation and diseases transmitted from infected commercial domesticated honeybees.

The program will cover up to $350 of the cost for homeowners who convert their lawns. The grants may cover more in areas targeted as "high potential" to support rusty patched bees. 
Here is the webpage on Lawns to Legumes.

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