Pollinator Habitat Program

Pollinator Habitat Program logoThe Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Pollinator Habitat Program creates naturalized areas of native plants along state-maintained roads and properties. These areas provide habitats to threatened and dwindling pollinator species.

Pollinators include honey and native bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and even flies and beetles. They contribute substantially to the U.S. economy by keeping fruits, nuts and vegetables fertilized through a process of moving pollen from one flower or plant to another. Only fertilized flowers can make fruit and seeds. 

The program also aims to decrease erosion and storm water runoff; provide sediment control; use fewer pesticides; and increase aesthetics. It can also save money by reducing mowing and other vegetation costs, such as invasive species control and herbicide applications.

Pollinator Waystations, filled with pollinator-friendly plants, are highly effective in attracting pollinators. VDOT’s Pollinator Habitat Program began in 2015 in Northern Virginia with four 900-foot  Pollinator Waystation plots. Since then, pollinator habitats have been added at 16 additional VDOT properties.The program continues to grow throughout the state, focusing on naturalized gardens and meadows at rest areas, park and ride lots, and additional VDOT properties and facilities. 

Pollinator Habitats Aid Transportation Priorities

In addition to providing habitat, the progarm aims to:

  • Reduce mowing, which allows plants to mature and produce seeds. VDOT's Best Practices Manual recommends no mowing between March 31 and November 1 each year.
  • Increase native vegetation to stabilize slopes and reduce erosion. Deep roots of native plants also decrease storm water runoff.
  • Defend against invasive species to reduce the costs of removing problem vegetation and using herbicides.

Support Pollinators

Wildflower and Protect Pollinators license plates fund the Pollinator Habitat Program. The plates are available for purchase through the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Wildflower plate   Pollinator Habitat plate

Learn More 

Monarch butterflyUSDA Forest Service: Attracting Pollinators to Your Garden Using Native Plants 
An illustrated guide explaining pollinators; their importance and how you can attract them to your own garden using native plants.

USDA Forest Service: Pollinators

Pollinator-Friendly Plants for the Northeast United States
Detailed plant list with individual pages per plant, including photos.

Status of the Monarch Butterfly
Latest information about Monarch butterflies from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Crown Bees 
Materials, resource information about native cavity nesting bees.

Bumble Bees of Virginia
A pamphlet in pdf form, produced by the Virginia Working Landscapes, a program of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. 

The Xerces Society
Information about invertebrate conservation, including many important pollinators.

Plant Virginia Natives
A hub for information about Virginia's native plants provided by the Virginia Native Plant Marketing Partnership. Includes downloadable native plant guides from seven regions of Virginia.

Heather Holm
Heather Holm has written two important books on native pollinators. Her website includes links to educational posters and articles she has written for Houzz.

Bringing Nature Home 
Website of University of Delaware professor and author Doug Tallamy.

Virginia's Natural Heritage Program 
A division of the Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation, the Natural Heritage Program’s work focuses on science-based conservation to protect Virginia's native plant and animal life and the ecosystems upon which it depends

Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora 
The Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora is the online successor to the Atlas of the Virginia Flora. Although it is still a work in progress in many respects, the Digital Atlas contains the most comprehensive information available on the geographic distribution of vascular plants in the Commonwealth.

Virginia Native Plant Society 
Dedicated to the protection and preservation of the native plants of Virginia and their habitats, this website contains many resources on native plants and links to local chapters throughout Virginia

Partners

VDOT’s partners provide technical expertise, on-site volunteers to help with planting, and even materials such as mulch.

Pollinator Waystation

Watch on Youtube:
VDOT Creates a Pollinator Habitat in VDOT's Salem District

Contact

Stacy Moulds, Pollinator Habitat Coordinator
Stacey.Moulds@VDOT.Virginia.gov or 804-592-8520.

Page last modified: Aug. 30, 2019