Heidi Holman, NH Fish and Game Department: (603) 271-3018
Arin Mills, NH Department of Transportation: (603) 271-3226
November 4, 2019
CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has been awarded a grant from the New England Forests and Rivers Fund for the purpose of creating large-scale pollinator habitat in highway rights-of-way and other public lands throughout the Granite State. Fish and Game’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program will work with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) to identify opportunities to establish early successional roadside habitat and enhance existing pollinator nectaring locations as part of planned roadway development and ongoing maintenance. The agency partnership will benefit high-priority pollinators including the monarch butterfly, yellow bumble bee, yellow-banded bumble bee, and American bumble bee, all species of greatest concern due to their declining populations throughout North America. The joint effort is expected to yield Best Management Practices that could improve pollinator habitat on up to 460 centerline miles.
In addition, the grant will allow for the creation of 13 demonstration sites in New Hampshire to showcase pollinator habitat and plantings, with 3 of the proposed sites intended to be located at public areas on DOT-owned land and the remaining 10 are to be situated on school yards or other town properties.
Loss of breeding habitat in the US and Canada, climate change, and disease have all contributed to the decline of pollinators in North America. While bumble bees do not migrate, monarchs arrive in the Granite State each summer to reproduce in milkweed patches while others on their return migration are nourished by milkweed nectar in route. However, during the past two decades, there has been a documented 90% drop in the overwintering monarch population in Mexico.
“This grant from the New England Forests and Rivers Fund will allow us to develop a partnership with DOT that will maximize already-available but overlooked resources,” said Heidi Holman, Wildlife Diversity Biologist at the NH Fish and Game Department. “The ability to identify the finest roadside pollinator habitat in the state and then help guide that land’s maintenance and development with pollinators as a priority is an exciting development, and one vital to supporting these species of greatest concern.”
Regarding the development of pollinator habitat demonstration sites, Holman continued, “Establishing working outdoor spaces at three DOT-managed sites that are frequented by the public will help to educate large numbers of residents and visitors about the decline of pollinators in the region, while demonstrational projects at the local level will help to get people involved with citizen science and action.”
The $50,000 award from the New England Forests and Rivers Fund will allow for joint work to begin in the spring of 2020.
New Hampshire’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program works with state and private partners to protect more than 400 wildlife species in New Hampshire. The Program relies on private donations, federal wildlife grants, a portion of Moose License Plate dollars, and a state matching grant from the State of New Hampshire. To learn more about the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program visit www.wildnh.com/nongame.
To learn more about the New Hampshire Department of Transportation’s varied and diverse scope of work visit www.nh.gov/dot.
The New England Forests and Rivers Fund is dedicated to restoring and sustaining healthy forests and rivers that provide habitat for diverse native bird and freshwater fish populations in New England. The program annually awards competitive grants ranging from $50,000 to $200,000 each. To learn more visit www.nfwf.org/newengland.