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Don’t Worry, Bee Happy: Infrastructure Plan Invests in Pollinator Habitat

Section 11528 of the Senate infrastructure bill is the bees’ knees… or the bees’ needs, and the needs of butterflies, beetles, bats, and all the other fauna that keep our crops alive.

Section 11528, “Pollinator-Friendly Practices on Roadsides and Highway Rights-of-Way,” offers grants to states, tribes, and federal land management agencies to support pollinators. The bill non-exhaustively lists several pro-pollinator practices eligible for funding:

  • practices relating to mowing strategies that promote early successional vegetation and limit disturbance during periods of highest use by target pollinator species… such as reducing the mowing swatch outside of the State-designated safety zone, increasing the mowing height, reducing the mowing frequency, refraining from mowing monarch and other pollinator habitat during periods in which monarchs or other pollinators are present, use of a flushing bar and cutting at reduced speeds to reduce pollinator deaths due to mowing, or reducing raking…;
  • implementation of an integrated vegetation management plan that includes approaches such as mechanical tree and brush removal, targeted and judicious use of herbicides, and mowing, to address weed issues…;
  • planting or seeding of native, locally appropriate grasses and wildflowers, including milkweed…;
  • removing nonnative grasses from planting and seeding mixes, except for use as nurse or cover crops;
  • obtaining expert training or assistance on pollinator-friendly practices… [H.R. 3684, Section 11528, Congressional Record: Senate, S5304, 2021.08.01].

Pollinator grants would come with no local cost-sharing requirement. The grants would be capped at $150,000, and the bill appropriates for these grants just $2 million each fiscal year for five years. So if every grant applicant sought maximum funding, Section 11528 would only cover 60-some pollinator projects.

Another section of the bill, 11522, the Invasive Plant Elimination Program, prioritizes grants intended to remove invasive plants that use “native plants and wildflowers, including those that are pollinator-friendly” and raises the federal cost share for invasive plant elimination grant projects from 50% to 75% for such projects.

Senator Mike Rounds has told us that pollinators are essential for agriculture. Bees and butterflies also contribute to a healthy pheasant population. These pro-pollinator provisions  are thus one more way that the bipartisan compromise infrastructure bill is a good investment in South Dakota’s economy.


  1. John Dale 2021-08-09 08:55

    This bill is very bad for American freedom of mobility.

  2. Donald Pay 2021-08-09 09:33

    I skimmed this massive chunk of crap bill. I’m sure a lot of it is needed, but I focused on the federal handouts to nuclear power and the mining industry. No way in hell would I ever vote for this bill with those sections in it. Pollinators, yes. I’m not sure why that has to be in an infrastructure bill, but that’s just me. Really, I hope the thing goes down if they can’t deal with real infrastructure rather than putting in little trinkets that lobbyists want.

  3. jerry 2021-08-09 10:03

    A most excellent start for our bees. Without bees, there is no reason for infrastructure whatsoever, the bees are that important.

  4. Mark Anderson 2021-08-09 10:51

    Well John, you sound like a Buffalo talking about the railroad. China every two years is casting more concrete than the United States cast in the 20th century. Maybe we should move forward before we go back to the stone age. Bees knees and all.

  5. jerry 2021-08-09 15:42

    Speaking of rail, how about the trains in China. “China has produced the first of a new generation of magnetic swing trains capable of speeds of up to 600 km / h (373 mph), which is almost half the speed of sound. The country says these will be the fastest ground transportation services on the planet.

    The new maglev system was unveiled to the public in Qingdao a few days ago by its maker, the Chinese state-owned CRRC Corporation, which said the new trains could travel 1,200 kilometers between Beijing and Shanghai. in three and a half hours, including waiting times. This compared to two hours and five minutes by plane or twelve hours of driving.”

    Meanwhile, we here in the United States think that 35 miles an hour is just about right for a train. Man, we need to get with the program that Biden/Harris are offering and put John Thune behind a damn plow pulled by a mule. Let him smell that gas for a while.

  6. Arlo Blundt 2021-08-09 16:47

    Well..I’m for birds, bees and butterflys…keep the milkweed growing around your property…its the best habitat for Monarch butterflys…plant clover, alfalfa, and wildflowers and let the bees have at it…try to live with yellow jackets and paper wasps who have their niche in pollination…there’s nothing wrong with your general garden flowers–Dahlias, lillies etc. they provide nector too…We need the pollinators and they are in dangerous decline…I have no idea what John Dale is talking about.

  7. Richard Schriever 2021-08-09 16:48

    John – mobility is not free. Roadways of all types and sidewalks and even walking trails have an associated production and maintenance cost.

  8. Donald Pay 2021-08-09 16:49

    I doubt the US can build high speed rail. Other than the East Coast or California Coast, there isn’t enough density to make it worth the cost. China has lots of advantages: right of way is far easier to acquire, labor costs are lower, standardized construction, etc., etc. China has massive cities, but some of the longer lines to more remote cities operate on subsidies. China sees trail as a way to decrease automobile traffic and greenhouse gas production, so there are other benefits beside the yuans. China is also facing mounting debt issues, and has delayed some new rail construction.

  9. Mark Anderson 2021-08-09 17:50

    Well, didn’t we get our interstate because Eisenhower really liked the German freeways and all Americans wanted cars. It’s hard to see what we can borrow from the Chinese, certainly not their government although the trumpies want a similar power. It will be whether or not Democracy and all it entails can beat an open autocratic government. Keith Richards was correct when he said it was only a matter of time with the USSR when he heard they were allowing the Stones on their airways, but China has given an open hand to Entrepreneurship until they don’t. Since they have no check on their power perhaps Milton Friedman will eventually prove correct, he’s been wrong all the way thus far. Remember he thought that they would have to open up politically, wrongo bongo on that one.

  10. WillyNilly 2021-08-09 18:31

    I keep waiting for the lawn police to come to my home and tell me that I need to remove all those ‘weeds’ I let grow. I grow them for the pollinators because they are natural and unsprayed with poisons. I keep my eyes open for ‘weeds’ that attract pollinators and add them to the mix. I don’t care what others think about my property. I keep it as neat as I can but in the summer and fall, some of the edges get pretty wild. Yeah, I hear the snide remarks and veiled threats. No matter, I do what I can with respect to nature.

  11. ABC 2021-08-09 18:44

    Bee’s knees for the pro pollinator cash!

    China is a world leader in fast trains and mag lev because they DECIDE to do it!

    Any of you readers DECIDE a) Democrats and Progressives elected for 2023-2073 in South Dakota (Yes, a 50 Year reign of Democrats!) and they are the MAJORITY! b) Ultra Prosperity that you create?

    If you don’t like or want a or b, keep complaining!

  12. John 2021-08-09 19:50

    We recognized this was outstanding therapy for WW1 veterans.
    So it is today.

  13. jerry 2021-08-09 23:14

    China even builds high speed to rural underserved areas. They call it economic development, what a concept, eh?

  14. jerry 2021-08-10 13:56

    Donald Pay, the nuclear part you are displeased with has to do with fusion not fission. So you can rest easily knowing that Biden/Harris has this and it ain’t a piece of crap. Bezos and Gates have tossed in about a Billion each on this as well so it has private company support as well as government support (finally) now.

    “Like traditional nuclear fission power, which splits atoms, fusion energy would not consume fossil fuel and would not produce greenhouse gases. It would be more desirable than nuclear fission because its fuel, usually hydrogen isotopes, is more plentiful than the uranium used by current nuclear plants, and because fusion plants would generate less-dangerous and fewer radioactive wastes.” New York Times 8.10.21

    As Cory says “Don’t worry bee happy)

  15. Donald Pay 2021-08-10 14:30

    jerry, If they are giving money for Gates’ and Bezo’s projects, that’s even more reason to be against it. What I have seen (link below) is that part of the nuclear money is straight up subsidies to three nuclear corporations, two of whom are under investigation by the feds for bribery over efforts to secure state subsidies in Illinois and Ohio for their uneconomic nuclear plants. Well, it’s not a done deal, even though it passed the Senate. Maybe the nuke subsidies can be excised in the House version.

  16. jerry 2021-08-10 15:01

    Sorry that you didn’t get what I was saying.

  17. jerry 2021-08-10 15:06

    They right now produce 19% of our total energy consumed. Between now and September, how would you replace that 19%? Question, do you think that by doing whatever we can right now to get ourselves better situated for green renewable energy is a good idea or a bad one?

  18. jerry 2021-08-10 15:12

    What Blomberg says “With the closing of Entergy Corp.’s Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York in April, the number of nuclear reactors operating in the U.S. has fallen to 93 from 104 two decades ago. Without any policy changes, more than half of the nation’s nuclear fleet will retire by 2030, according to report earlier this year by the Rhodium Group.

    “Nuclear energy is a vital part of America’s energy system, producing more carbon-free electricity than all of our wind, solar, and hydropower combined,” said John Kotek, a senior vice president at the Nuclear Energy Institute, a Washington-based trade group. “Retaining our nuclear plants is essential to reach our carbon targets faster and is the least-expensive way to keep carbon off the grid.” Your link

    The Rhodium Group “Rhodium Group has decades of experience producing rigorous, independent and decision-relevant research and data. In addition to our stand-alone analysis we maintain long-standing collaborations with leading think-tanks and universities in the United States, Asia, and Europe. Our work is regularly cited by media and government bodies, and used by firms, investors, philanthropic leaders and policymakers worldwide.

    Key areas of Rhodium expertise include Chinese economic, social and political development, energy and climate change, India’s emergence as a global player and advanced economy restructuring.”

    I think the Biden/Harris team made a good call on this and you think differently, that’s what makes it all cool.

  19. Donald Pay 2021-08-10 16:17

    herry, John Kotek was part of the Department of Energy team that secretly tried to foist the borehole test on South Dakota. Rhodium is a consulting group that competes with my daughter’s employer. I don’t have any use for either of them.

  20. jerry 2021-08-10 16:51

    Donald Pay, you send the links and I actually read them. Perhaps you would be wise to do the same else I find something that irks you. Bee happy, if we can get the hedge funds eliminated, maybe we could finally get rail service that matters. Go Biden/Harris!!

  21. Bob Case 2021-10-01 00:16

    A poor idea to attract pollinators to roadsides where they have a high risk of joining the other bugs on my grill and windows. Use some money to encourage beekeepers and do your weed plantings away from roads.

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