A small city in Iowa is creating 1000 acres of bee paradise to restore America’s vanishing bees
The bee population in America has been declining rapidly in recent times, which may threaten the global food supply someday. Cedar Rapids, a small city in Iowa has decided to do something about it. This spring, the city will seed nearly 200 acres with a special pollinator plant mix made up of native prairie grasses and wildflowers. Its plan is to create 1,000 acres of bee paradise eventually.
With the agricultural boom around 100 years ago, about 99.9 percent of all the native habitat of Iowa has been lost. When you convert it back to what was originally native Iowa, you’re going to help a lot more than just native pollinators. You’re helping birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals—everything that’s native here relies on native vegetation, said Daniel Gibbins, Cedar Rapids Park Superintendent.
The 1,000 acres pollinator initiative grew out of a partnership with the Monarch Research Project (MRP), whose goal is to restore butterfly populations. The project has so far secured $180,000 in funding from the state and the MRP.
They have developed a special mix of grasses and wildflowers to help restore the native habitat. The seed mix includes 39 species of wildflowers, and 7 species of native prairie grasses. While bees and butterflies are mostly attracted to the flowers, the hardy prairie grasses will prevent weeds and invasive species from moving in and out the flowers.