The Pollinator Habitat Plan of the Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) was developed in response to the 2016 Pollinator Protection Act of the Maryland General Assembly, § 2-1801 Pollinator Habitat Plan, the 2017 amendments to the Act, and in consultation with the Pollinator Protection Plan of the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
Importance of Pollinators
MDOT SHA recognizes that pollinators are essential to our well-being, and that they are an important part of healthy ecosystems. An estimated 85% of the world’s flowering plants depend on animal pollinators for their pollination and successful fruit development. These crops produce our fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and livestock forage.
Wild pollinators, including bees, wasps, flies, beetles, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds, as well as managed hives of honey bees are experiencing declines in population due to a loss of habitat, the spread of disease, and various other factors.
MDOT SHA’s Pollinator Habitat Plan includes the creation of designated pollinator habitat sites in locations such as welcome centers, rest areas, select office complexes and similar facilities. These sites are being created throughout the state and include a wide variety of pollen and nectar sources. These sites will be inclusive of interpretive signs with educational guidance about the specific plantings installed at each site.
Designated pollinator habitat sites will be managed to provide attractive and diverse plantings that support pollinator habitat.
MDOT SHA will maintain turfgrass and meadows in conformance with applicable laws and as needed to support adjacent activities. MDOT SHA will also promote the installation of more meadows under highway development projects to support and promote pollinator habitat and food sources where appropriate. These will be areas along the roadside that have traditionally been specified as turfgrass; however, these locations will need to safely accommodate taller vegetation without compromising safety offsets, vehicle recovery clear zones, and sightline clearances in order to maintain visibility to intersections, access points, pedestrian crossings, signs, and signalization equipment.
No pesticides containing neonicotinoids or labeled as toxic to bees, or seeds or plants treated with neonicotinoids will be used at MDOT SHA designated Pollinator Habitat Plan sites.
The goal of the MDOT SHA Pollinator Habitat Plan is to enhance habitat areas for bees, butterflies, and other threatened and dwindling pollinators by:
- Providing seasonal flowers that provide nectar, pollen, and nesting sites for pollinators.
- Providing refuge areas with plants and seeds not treated with neonicotinoid pesticides.
- Providing educational signage about pollinators and their habitat.
As of June 2019, MDOT SHA has delivered five pollinator habitat gardens in District 7 to serve as model sites and provide educational resources to our Maryland residents and out of state visitors alike. You can see the first five new designated pollinator habitat gardens at the following locations:
- Mason Dixon Welcome Center along US 15 in Frederick County.
- South Mountain Welcome Centers (Eastbound and Westbound) along I-70 in Frederick County.
- I-95 Welcome Centers (Northbound and Southbound) in Howard County.
As of winter 2022, sites are currently being identified and inventoried for future pollinator habitat development and will include additional welcome centers, rest areas, select MDOT office complexes, and similar facilities across the state.
For More Information
For additional information contact the Office of Environmental Design – Landscape Programs Division - Mr. Tim Madden at 410-545-8604.