FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (FOX 9) - Minnesota lawmakers are taking a more aggressive approach to the state’s dying bee population.
As part of a new spending plan, nearly $1 million in grant money will be set aside for homeowners open to transforming their lawns into a pollinator-friendly habitat.
The University of Minnesota will receive $900,000 over the course of one year that will go towards helping homeowners make their lawns bee-friendly by replacing traditional lawns with pollinator-friendly plants such as wildflowers and Dutch White Clover.
“I’m surprised in a good way,” said Ian Lane, of the U of M Bee Lab. “I think we’re probably the first state to do something on that scale.”
Lane is a researcher with the Bee Lab, which promotes the conservation, health and diversity of bees.
“We have over 400 species of bees in Minnesota and a lot of them we don’t know the status of,” Lane said.
The state’s initiative focuses on the rusty patch bumblebee, which is a species nearing extinction.
“A lot of different bees respond and other animals will respond to these actions when you go in and you do a planting, you’re kind of increasing the amount of food in the landscape and if that’s one of their limiting factors that can really help bolster their populations,” Lane added.
In addition, the benefits to the environment are endless.
“All of these different insects are behind the scenes,” Lane said. “Moderating a lot of things that are important to everyday things that we care about, like a clean environment, functional food systems, things like that. Beauty too, that’s an important one.”
It’s still unclear when the funding will be made available. Rep. Rick Hansen says that a work plan will be up for approval in mid-July.
The state’s Board of Water and Soil Resources will run the program.