Operation Pollination recognizes the importance of pollinator habitat both restored and maintained on public and private lands. Through collaboration and outreach with partners, an interconnected mosaic of pollinator habitat (with core public areas) will be developed to stabilize and/or increase populations of pollinator species throughout project areas.
Given the breadth, severity and persistence of pollinator loss, it is critical to expand efforts to reverse these losses and help restore pollinator populations to healthy levels. Our goal is to collaboratively and strategically protect and enhance pollinator species and their habitat on public and private lands by:
· Increase and Improve Pollinator Habitat: Work to develop a network of Pollinator friendly habitat on public and private lands;
· Public-Private Partnerships: Develop strategic partnerships to improve or create habitat for pollinators as well as provide educational opportunities within the scope of the resolution;
· Education: Encourage voluntary, collaborative and locally led conservation that has proven to be effective in maintaining and enhancing working landscapes.
In 2015, federal, state and local governments, plus numerous for profit and not-for-profit partners in the St. Croix Valley (MN/WI) collectively supported a Pollinator Resolution that committed participants to take action by “doing something” to protect pollinator habitat…ranging from a yoga class donating milkweed seeds to restoring grasslands on private lands. These actions were aimed at benefiting a wide range of pollinators. Partners in the project included Rotary District 5960 and its clubs, the National Park Service, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, city governments and many small and large businesses.
In 2016 these partners applied for a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) grant and received $198,000 to restore pollinator habitat in the St. Croix Valley. As a result, 1,039 acres of land was restored and enhanced by monies from this grant. In addition, a milkweed/flowering plant seed bank was established at a local correctional facility.
Numerous government and non-government, for profit and not-for-profit organizations throughout the United States are all doing great work to benefit pollinators. Leveraging the good name of the National Park Service, this success story was re-branded as Operation Pollination and has been extended to the large landscapes of National Heritage Areas (NHAs) in the Midwest and elsewhere. (National Heritage Areas are large, lived-in landscapes with nationally important stories to tell. They are often thousands of square miles in extent. The National Park Service administers the NHA program, but does not own or manage individual NHAs. That is the role of not-for-profits.) To date 35 NHAs (of a total of 55) across the USA have expressed interest in joining the Operation Pollination project in every region of the Nation.