Ask the Ray

" How do pollinator gardens help a roadway? Please help me understand the connection. "

Susan Crotty
Government Affairs Special Project Manager - Road To Zero at National Safety Council

The first thing to understand is that all along the right-of-way, decisions have to be made about the ground cover. Dirt and gravel are unsightly and lead to erosion issues, so departments of transportation look to vegetation.

This is why you usually see turf grass lining the road. However, turf grass has a shallow, fragile root structure that makes it difficult to grow, and it requires extensive, regular mowing. We think there are better options and one that we particularly like is the pollinator habitat. Native pollinator meadows use native plants that are drought resistant and optimized for the local climate. They have deep root structures that prevent erosion and protect our water systems from roadside pollution. Pollinator habitats (obviously) provide a home for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators that are critical to the success of our agricultural communities.

By choosing pollinator meadows as the ground cover management strategy the right-of-way, we can secure acres of land for these important species for decades.

And did we mention that they’re beautiful and can make a road trip or long commute just a little bit better than it would be otherwise?