You may think the Ohio Department of Transportation is responsible for patching potholes and rerouting highways, but they’re looking out for more than just your safety on the road. The ODOT Pollinator Habitat Program, piloted back in 2011, exists to plant native prairie species around the state to restore the habitat, beautify the landscape, and provide food for struggling and even endangered populations of pollinators like bees and monarch butterflies.
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A bonus benefit of the Pollinator Habitat Program is the amount of money it has saved the state on mowing expenses; $2.2 million last year alone. The planting also decreases blowing snow and provides a net-like stop to litter that would’ve otherwise been carried off by the wind.
Today, about 800 acres of roadside in 45 counties are covered in new foliage, including a milkweed patch on I-71 near MAPFRE Stadium—the first roadside prairie in an urban setting, reports WOSU. The goal is to add more with a goal of 125 acres every year.