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Old 03-12-2017, 02:35 PM   #1
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Default Won't the pollinators get hit by cars?

I have seen many people concerned that roadside habitat would be the death of more pollinators and other flying creatures than would be helped. Thus creating a sink. It seems researchers and the Xerces Society have found a solution to this problem.
While these corridors are narrow they can be quite extensive. this with proper maintenance practices creates a place of refuge for many.

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Won't the pollinators get hit by cars?

The Xerces Society... It might seem counterintuitive, but no. To quote from this article: "Researchers in Europe found that the frequency of mowing was linked to the proportion of butterflies killed on roads; butterflies that had to disperse to find new habitat after roadsides were mowed had a greater likelihood of collisions with vehicles. In contrast, roadsides with more species of plants had fewer butterflies killed by traffic."
The Xerces Society Blog Archive Pollinator Conservation at 60 MPH

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From the perspective of a pollinator, roadsides can serve as a place to refuel, to reproduce, and to overwinter. Pollinators might visit roadsides to sip nectar from wildflowers or may be just passing through, using them as corridors between fragments of other habitat. But roadsides can also support entire life cycles of pollinators, from egg to adult. Pollinator communities can be quite diverse on roadsides, and can include bees and butterflies with general habitat needs (bumble bees, for example, which will forage on a range of flowers and nest in old rodent burrows), as well as species with very specific, narrow habitat requirements, such as the Fender’s blue butterfly (lcaricia icarioides fenderi) that has a very limited range and depends upon a single species of lupine for reproduction.
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Roadside vegetation management influences how pollinators use roadsides, and even influences the number of pollinators killed by vehicles driving nearby. High quality roadside habitat may reduce the numbers of pollinators killed by vehicles by giving pollinators less need to disperse elsewhere. Researchers in Europe found that the frequency of mowing was linked to the proportion of butterflies killed on roads; butterflies that had to disperse to find new habitat after roadsides were mowed had a greater likelihood of collisions with vehicles. In contrast, roadsides with more species of plants had fewer butterflies killed by traffic.
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The use of native plants has additional benefits beyond aesthetics and connections to natural heritage and state identity. Native plants can also serve the functional roles on roadsides that engineers require by providing soil stabilization, reducing weed invasions, and improving water quality by reducing runoff. Additional benefits of native plants include tolerance of drought or heat, trapping snow and preventing it from blowing across roads, and supporting wildlife such as gamebirds and song birds.
Link to Xerces Society and ICF Documents.

The Xerces Society Roadsides
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Old 03-13-2017, 07:15 AM   #2
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Thanks, Gloria. I am sharing this with my contacts.
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Old 03-13-2017, 02:03 PM   #3
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I think the pluses outweigh the minuses in this kind of situation. There are some minuses to be sure, but in many of the locations where pollinator habitat is established along highways there wouldn't be any pollinator habitat at all if it were not for these roadway plantings. Modern agricultural practices have virtually eliminated pollinator habitat from large farms.

Pesticide drift through the air and soil are likely to be a much bigger negative factors than being hit by a car.
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Old 03-13-2017, 08:08 PM   #4
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Thank you for sharing/posting this. Good to know.

The median strips still seem odd to me, but shoulders which blend into the surrounding countryside seem like a great idea.

Great point about mowing.
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