Bees, butterflies and other insects that pollinate native plant species are disappearing at an alarming rate.
As part of a comprehensive effort to expand pollinator-friendly habitat in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is launching a new initiative involving planting pollinator habitat on solar energy sites in the state.
“Some pollinator species, such as the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee, have reached critically low population levels and are listed on the federal endangered species list. Others, like the Monarch Butterfly, are being considered for listing as a threatened or endangered species,” IDNR Director Colleen Callahan said in a news release from IDNR. “Planting pollinator-friendly habitat is one of the best ways to improve pollinator populations.”
Opportunities to create and enhance pollinator habitat exist statewide – from private yards to roadways, and from farms to parks and natural areas. The new initiative to encourage pollinator friendly-habitat on solar energy sites is intended to complement those efforts.
In 2018, the State of Illinois enacted the Pollinator-Friendly Solar Site Act (525 ILCS 55/). This law required the IDNR to create a scorecard, with consultation from the University of Illinois.