Enhancing Pollinator Health & Habitat
Two major pollinator habitat projects were undertaken by The Common Acre, a Seattle area non-profit which forms restorative relationships between people and the land, through innovative projects rooted in ecology, community, and the arts.
- The Green Line: a multi-year, large-scale pollinator habitat restoration project on 20 acres (with possible expansion to 64 acres) of Seattle City Light transmission corridor right of way, including a native plant nursery, edible-native educational trail, and pollinator meadow.
- Engaged nearly 500 people, including over 25% percent residents from surrounding neighborhoods. Volunteers working on the site were 16% neighborhood residents.
- Established one pilot acre to test restoration and maintenance strategies, which will host pollinator population studies in 2018 to track species density against baseline pollinator survey established throughout the corridor 2014-2016.
- From October-November 2017, with over 40 community volunteers, installed 300 semi-mature native plants and seeded 250 square feet of pollinator meadow hedgerows in the pilot area.
- Ongoing soil building and invasive species management happening on the site
- Flight Path; an innovative restoration project on 20 acres of land at Sea-Tac Airport reintroducing native plant species to the area, while creating habitat for honey bees and wild bees. Our priority is to sustain the project for years to come by empowering the Port and local partners to be effective long-term stewards.
- Created a robust inventory and reference collection of our existing pollinator community. By their request, the collection has been shared with the USDA’s Logan Bee Lab at Utah State University for national comparisons.
- Inventoried native plants around the south end of Sea-Tac airport
- Removed conventional non-flowering turf grasses and planted three acres of test plantings for managed pollinator habitats
- Developed and raised disease-resistant Northwest honeybees
Policies & Practices
The City of Seattle has committed to reducing the use of herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides in all City landscapes. The goals of the pesticide reduction program are to eliminate the use of the most potentially hazardous herbicides and insecticides and to continuously seek strategies to reduce overall pesticide use. For more information about Citywide Pesticide Use Reduction Strategy and Pilot Project Information contact the Office of Sustainability and Environment or visit the Pesticide Reduction Website.
Education & Outreach
The Common Acre conducted wild bee population surveys for the past three years on both of our restoration sites. We identified 61 species in the community in this location, verified with scientists from UW, UC-Davis, and USDA’s Logan Bee Lab at Utah State University. At least 1000 person-hours went into creating this unique reference collection, which will prove an invaluable measuring stick not only for us but for other researchers regionally and nationally.
We partner with Northwest Pollinator Initiative to host citizen science classes and community workshops. NWPI classes in Seattle for 2017 included:
- The WildBeeSense Biodiversity Project: Based off of three years of data on wild bee biodiversity gathered by Elias Bloom, a WSU pollinator entomologist, and citizen scientists in Seattle urban gardens, this citizen science class explores the relationship between plants, pollinators, and the tools we can use to save these precious organisms. Class attendees received a free guide on how to identify and observe wild bees, and hands-on instruction in pollinator identification and monitoring. Citizen scientists join a growing network of local bee observers through an online forum that allows the citizen scientists to report on their findings.
- Bioblitzes: These short-term rapid assessments of wild bee species are greatly needed to inform pollinator conservation in the Puget Sound Region. These classes seek to catalog the relationships between plants and pollinators in the urban gardens of Seattle. This communal citizen science effort recorded as many bee species as possible over a 1hr period. Both community members new to the project and returning citizen scientists will had the opportunity to share their bee knowledge and expertise in a fun collaborative environment!
Central Co-op, Seattle’s only cooperative grocery provider and Bee City affiliate partner, conducted the following educational campaigns:
- Product labels – In an effort to bring awareness about pollinators, during Pollinator Week, Central Co-op adds special labels to a variety of products that are pollinator dependent. As there are so many, we rotate which products are called out each year, while managing to label a handful items in each department of the grocery store.
- Central Co-op also partnered with local honey producer/purveyor, GloryBee on their Save the Bee campaign. GloryBee has an initiative called “Save the Bee” which goal is to raise money to help save the honey bee. GloryBee donates 10% of all sales of SAVE the BEE honey to fund critical honey bee health research. We also provided them with a cash donation which also contributes to bee research at Washington State University and Oregon State
- Led by Central Co-op’s 2017 Community Partner, Capitol Hill Tool Library, Central Co-op, Sustainable Capitol Hill, & Howell Collective P-Patch partnered up for a Bee House & Community Garden Workshop. Capitol Hill Tool Library provided a Bee House Demo where participants learned how to make a nesting box and left with plans so they could create their own bee homes. In addition, Nate Merrill & Catleah Cunanan spoke to the care and keeping of seasonal pollinators