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Pollinator Habitat Development and Enhancement

Pollinator habitat

Why is pollinator habitat important?

Quality pollinator habitat provides the following benefits:

  • Diverse native plant communities provide mutually beneficial shelter and food for a wide variety of pollinator and wildlife species.
  • Pollinators rely on blooming flowers for nectar and pollen, and leaves of host plants for larval food.
  • Birds feed on the fruits and seeds of the native plants.
  • Insect pollinators are prey for wildlife.
  • Vegetative cover provides habitat for small mammals. Those animals serve as food for larger predators such as hawks, foxes and owls.
  • Pollinator habitat improves water quality because of native plants’ ability to filter run-off and groundwater.

A good rule of thumb for "pollinator habitat" is to provide at least three blooming native plant species in each of the early, middle, and late periods of the growing season.

People in pollinator habitat

Get involved with Indiana DNR to restore habitat

The Indiana DNR actively promotes and establishes pollinator friendly habitat. This habitat work is accomplished through many programs offered through the Division of Fish & Wildlife or with conservations partners’ programs. These programs provide technical and financial help to landowners or managers interested in establishing and enhancing habitat.

Pollinator friendly habitat programs

To participate in these programs, contact a DNR Landscape or District Biologist. From there, you can enroll in eligible programs, receive technical advice, and apply for potential funding to help offset the costs of the habitat establishment. View a list of potential financial assistance for habitat projects.

  • Monarch Wings Across the Eastern Broadleaf Forest

    The Division of Fish & Wildlife co-leads this program in Indiana with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. This program, coordinated by the Pollinator Partnership and funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, seeks to enhance 4,688 acres of monarch habitat.

    Thanks to concerned and engaged Hoosier citizen scientists, the project has:

    • Organized and trained more than 150 dedicated volunteers, including community, agency, corporate partners, Master Gardeners and Naturalists, high schoolers, and private citizens in Indiana.
    • Created a network to collect seed from 20 native monarch nectar and host plants throughout our target states in the Eastern Broadleaf Forest ecoregion.
    • Formed 12 teams of dedicated volunteers statewide and spent more than 811 hours collecting 24 pounds of seed in 2017.
    • Sent native seed to be processed, propagated and returned to the landscape in plugs and seeds for monarch restoration projects.

    Join the effort.

  • Grasslands for Gamebirds and Songbirds (GGS)

    Grasslands are declining across Indiana and throughout the nation. The Indiana State Wildlife Action Plan identifies this loss as the single greatest threat to Indiana’s wildlife. Many grassland bird populations are already showing significant decline. The loss of pollinating insects and the plants they depend on are also a growing concern. GGS is a partnership with other conservation agencies, including DNR, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Natural Resources Foundation, non-profit conservation groups, private industries and other sponsors to:

    • Develop and improve grasslands and pollinator habitats in targeted areas in Indiana.
    • Improve soil health and water quality.
    • Improve species diversity.
    • Increase hunting, birding and outdoor recreation opportunities.
    • Improve overall human health.
    • Increase funding to local economies.
    • Preserve cultural heritage.

    Learn more about the program.

  • CORRIDORS

    CORRIDORS is a Division of Fish & Wildlife program to develop habitats for grassland-dependent species and to foster improved pollinator habitat along roadways and waterways within prioritized conservation opportunity areas. In 2018, a total of 1,349 acres, with 452 acres specifically designed to benefit pollinators, was enrolled. CORRIDORS is a partnership between the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever to:

    • Provide technical and financial assistance for establishing wildlife habitat on your property.
    • Get rid of invasive species.
    • Address erosion, sedimentation or other water-quality and soil-health concerns.
    • Provide aesthetic benefits.

    Learn more about the program.

  • Urban Wildlife Habitat Cost-Share Program

    This program reimburses a portion of the expenses incurred by an entity for developing urban wildlife habitat as specified in a management plan.

    • Projects must have at least one other partner as a financial contributor.
    • These habitat projects are more often than not beneficial to pollinators, such as the monarch butterfly.
    • In 2018, more than 31 acres of pollinator-friendly habitat was established in urban areas through this program.
    • To participate in this program, the project must exist within an identified urban priority habitat area (greater Indianapolis, greater Fort Wayne, South Bend/Mishawaka/Elkhart regions. View a map of the eligible regions.
  • Wildlife Habitat Cost-Share Program

    This program reimburses a portion of the expenses incurred by a landowner for developing wildlife habitat as specified in a management plan on lands of five or more acres.

    • These habitat developments are often co-beneficial to many pollinators, including the monarch butterfly.
    • In 2018, more than 271 acres of native grass and forb plantings that are beneficial to pollinators were established.
  • Gamebird Partnership Program

    This program reimburses a portion of the expenses incurred by a landowner for developing bobwhite quail, ring-necked pheasant, American woodcock, mourning dove, ruffed grouse or wild turkey habitat.

    • The Division of Fish & Wildlife administers this program in partnership with local not-for-profit conservation organizations such as Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever or the National Wild Turkey Federation.
    • These habitat developments are often co-beneficial to many pollinators, including the monarch butterfly.
    • In 2018, more than 152 acres of native grass and forb plantings that are beneficial to pollinators were established.
  • Conservation Reserve Program

    The Division of Fish & Widlife provides technical assistance to the Conservation Reserve Program, a USDA Farm Bill program that establishes habitat for pollinators and wildlife species on private lands throughout Indiana.

    As of September 2017, Indiana had 231,299 acres enrolled in CRP, including:

    • 10,402 acres-CP33 native grasses and forbs.
    • 4,113 acres of CP42 (pollinator habitat).
    • 56,342.5 acres of CP38 (SAFE) have been enrolled in Indiana. Of that, 50,986 is enrolled in grassland/forb/pollinator practices that benefit wildlife species such as ring-necked pheasant, American woodcock, Northern bobwhite quail, Henslow’s sparrow, sedge wren, and grasshopper sparrow, in addition to a myriad of pollinating insects, including the imperiled monarch butterfly.