The Michigan Department of Natural Recourses recently was awarded $600,000 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Servicefor bumble bee and Karner blue butterfly conservation.
Bumble bees and butterflies are important pollinators, which are vital to the production of healthy crops for food and medicines and as food sources for wildlife. They also are important visitors to backyard flower gardens. Pollinators as a group have seen severe declines in their populations. Those declines have been felt by the agricultural community.
To gauge bumble bee declines in Michigan, the DNR will provide the Michigan Natural Features Inventory with $100,000 to assess historic and current native bee diversity, distribution and status. This information will inform conservation decision making and enhance the next revision of Michigan’s Wildlife Action Plan.
Additionally, the Michigan DNR, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy will be restoring and enhancing oak savanna to benefit the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. Michigan and Ohio have been awarded $500,000 to control invasive species, implement prescribed fire, and assist private landowners in the development of habitat management plans for this rare butterfly and other oak savanna wildlife, like wild turkey and deer.
The Competitive State Wildlife Grant Program is a nationally competitive program that provides funding to states to help implement or enhance their Wildlife Action Plans. Michigan's Wildlife Action Plan, now in the process of being revised, is a framework for collaborative conservation. The plan focuses on habitat management and other key issues affecting wildlife, especially wildlife populations that are in decline. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded 15 grants, a total of $5.7 million to states across the country.