DVIDS – News – USACE Tulsa District Creates Sustainable Pollinator Habitat

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TULSA, Okla. — In recent years, there has been a steep decline in pollinator populations in the region. Pollinators such as bees, butterflies and birds support a healthy ecosystem which is vital for the survival of several animal and plant species. These pollinators feed on the nectar of flowering plants and deliver the pollen to the next flower, fertilizing the plants. Without the help of pollinators, fertilization does not occur since most plants do not fertilize themselves.
Bees and other pollinating animals face many challenges in the modern world. Habitat loss, disease, parasites and environmental contaminants have all contributed to the decline of many pollinator species. Pollinators that don’t find the right amount or quality of habitat don’t survive. Right now, there just aren’t enough pollinator-friendly plantings to support pollinators.
The federal government has acted through the National Strategy plan to promote the health of bees and other pollinators, and this includes USACE’s pollinator plan. The USACE Pollinator Plan calls for increasing awareness and education and incorporating best conservation and management practices for pollinator health on the lands and waters it manages, as appropriate. applicable.
Here in the Tulsa District, several projects incorporate habitat restoration into their daily operations by planting pollinator fields throughout their projects to support and increase pollinator populations in the area. They are currently found at Lake Kaw, Lake Oolagah, Lake Keystone, and Lake Fort Gibson. These are located in the East and North Tulsa District operations areas.
At Kaw Lake, work began a few years ago when Lake Manager Peat Robinson and Assistant Lake Manager Dakota Allison developed a partnership with Phillips 66 and completed various projects around the lake.
“One project was the pollinator fields that were established by the lookout and Osage Creek,” said Raef Perryman, environmental specialist for the North Zone. “In total, they developed about eight acres of wildflower fields.”
Oolagah Lake staff are currently in their second year of pollinator field management. Seeds of native wildflowers were planted to provide ideal habitat for pollinators during different months of the year.
“This year, we planted 11 acres of pollinator fields which were funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act (IIJA). We used a native wildflower seed mix for all the fields,” said Eric Bonnell, Oolagah Lake Manager. “Last year we planted about 3 acres which included a fall food patch of Crimson Clover. Crimson Clover serves as a food source for wildlife and blooms in the spring to create primary pollinators. The seed mix used this year takes about 2-3 years to mature into a mature pollinator field and will be monitored annually for progress.
Fort Gibson Lake noticed the demand for local habitat restoration and began planning pollinator patches on their project. This plan started in 2020 and they have now successfully planted over 7 acres of pollinator fields in one of their public use areas.
“These fields will not only help provide suitable habitat for pollinators, but they are also a great educational tool for people visiting our project,” said natural resources specialist Gregg Moydell.
Fort Gibson Lake staff are currently working on obtaining interpretive signs to place around these fields to teach visitors the importance of maintaining the natural state of wildlife habitat.
Fort Gibson Lake also started a new project and partnered with local Boy Scout groups to build and install bat houses around their project. “We hope that by placing bat houses near new pollinator fields, we will have more access to suitable bat habitat,” said natural resources specialist Joshua Glazebrook.
Many people hear the word pollinator and think of bees, but these projects help several different species of pollinators. Not only will habitat restoration help bees, but restoring these habitats will also contribute to the current decline in bat, butterfly, and bird populations in the region.
The goal of the USACE plan is to restore or improve millions of acres of land through federal actions and public and private partnerships. The Tulsa District manages over one million acres of land and water, with over 90% of the land being managed for wildlife. Tulsa District project staff are working diligently to achieve this goal, one habitat at a time.







Date taken: 21.06.2022
Date posted: 21.06.2022 14:36
Story ID: 423450
Location: WAGON, OK, WE





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