Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Pollinators and MnDOT

I-35 Monarch Highway

What are pollinators?

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Monarch butterfly on stiff Goldenrod along I-35 near Albert Lea

Pollinators are any organism that helps move pollen from one flower to another. MnDOT and other state agencies are looking specifically at insect pollinators. Two insects, the honeybee and the Monarch butterfly, are serving as flagship species for the entire insect pollinator group. This means that when you hear about honeybees and Monarch butterflies, all insect pollinators are included.

MnDOT's role

MnDOT manages approximately 175,000 acres of green space in Minnesota. We currently plant native grasses and forbs on 30% of construction projects where soil beyond the inslope is disturbed. The native seed mixes can be found in MnDOT’s Seeding Manual. Once established, these planted native prairies provide many benefits such as

  • Increased soil fertility
  • Increased water infiltration
  • Pollinator and small mammal habitat
  • Control of blowing and drifting snow
  • Aesthetics

MnDOT manages roadsides by using integrated roadside vegetation management techniques which include mowing, prescribed burning, herbicides and biological controls.

How you can help

MnDOT rights of way cannot provide all of the habitat pollinators need to survive and flourish. All land managers in Minnesota need to do their part. To find out ways you can help, visit the MN Department of Natural Resources website with pollinator resources.