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Pollinator Habitat Program

James K. Polk Building, Suite 400
505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37243-0333
Phone: 615.741.2877
Fax: 615.532.5995
Twitter: @TDOT_Beautify

Shawn A. Bible
Highway Beautification Office Manager


Pollinators are a diverse group of species which includes birds, bees, butterflies, bats and beetles. They are critically important to life and their numbers are in steady decline as a result of loss of habitat, pests and pathogens, exposure to pesticides and other stressors. In response, pollinator-friendly language has been included in the nation’s current transportation funding law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (Pub. L. 114-94), namely:

  1. Integrated vegetation management practices on roadsides including reduced mowing; and
  2. The development of habitat for Monarch butterflies, honey bees, and other native pollinators through plantings of native flowering plants and grasses, including noninvasive, native milkweed species that can serve as migratory way stations for butterflies and facilitate migrations of other pollinators.

Tennessee Department of Transportation is doing its part to meet these goals by building and maintaining pollinator habitat along our 13,807 miles of state-maintained roadways and near welcome centers and rest stops. The approach of the TDOT POLLINATOR HABITAT PROGRAM includes:

  • Best maintenance practices and sound ecological principles, through Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management (IRVM methods are currently utilized along guardrails.)
  • Modify mowing schedules to be compatible with pollinator cycles
  • Utilize swath mowing practices to reduce costs and increase habitat (currently implemented)
  • Include pollinator plants in roadside landscaping during new construction and rehabilitation projects where possible
  • Establish pollinator meadows and gardens at Welcome Centers and Rest Stops across the state
  • Develop pilot projects in each region (Research is currently underway. More information TBA.)
  • Create information signage to educate the public about the many benefits of pollinators

Look for more good things to come as we work to connect and create pollinator habitats across the beautiful state of Tennessee.

Assistance Programs:
Tennessee Department of Agriculture - Bees
Tennessee Department of Agriculture - Honey Bees for Pollination
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency - Pollinator Habitat Assistance
US Department of Agriculture - Pollinator Assistance Programs

National Pollinator Week:
In 2007, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved and designated a week in June as National Pollinator Week. The celebration is a nationwide effort that calls attention to the steps everyone–from government to private sector to individual citizens–can take to protect and restore pollinator populations. This year, National Pollinator Week is June 19-25, 2017, as designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior. For more information on how you can help, visit the Pollinator Partnership website.

General Information:
The Xerces Society
Pollinator Partnership
US Fish & Wildlife Service - Pollinators
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service - Insects & Pollinators
TDOT Pollinator Q&A

Creating Habitat:
US Fish & Wildlife Service - Attracting Pollinators to Your Garden (PDF)
USDA Forest Service - Attracting Pollinators to Your Garden Using Native Plants (PDF)
USDA Forest Service - Gardening for Pollinators
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service - Pollinator-Friendly Plants for Northeast United States (PDF)
The Xerces Society - Project Milkweed