Places for Pollinators
Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) is pleased to announce it has received a grant award of $3,000 from The Sudbury, Concord & Assabet Wild & Scenic River Stewardship Council through their Community Grants Program. These grants are intended to advance projects supporting and enhancing the protection and enjoyment of the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Wild and Scenic River and its outstanding resources.
In 1999, 29 miles of the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Rivers were designated as part of the national Wild and Scenic River System based on their outstandingly remarkable resources that include recreational opportunities, scenery, ecology, history and literature. The River Stewardship Council (RSC) was created to work in partnership with the National Park Service to protect these resources. Each of the shoreline communities is a member of the RSC, as well as three non-governmental organizations, the state and federal governments.
The RSC, guided by the River Conservation Plan, promotes the protection of these resources through collaborative efforts, educational programs, and the statutory authority of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. By working in partnership with other interested parties, the RSC encourages cooperation and coordination on river issues. Using authority in the Wild and Scenic River Act, the RSC with the National Park Service evaluates federal actions on the rivers to ensure their impacts are minimized.
The goal of this specific project is to improve monarch and other native pollinator habitat located along the Sudbury River. Pollinators are in crisis. The monarch population has declined by 90% over the last two decades and last year U.S. beekeepers reported losing 40% of their colonies. Locally, changes in land use have resulted in a patchy distribution of food and nesting resources for native pollinators. Pollinating insects play a critical role in maintaining natural plant communities and ensuring production of seeds in most flowering plants. Bees and other pollinators are also responsible for the production of most fruits, nuts, and vegetables that humans consume. As a result, they are critical to our economy, food security, and environmental health.
In June of 2016, four plots will be solarized, planted, and mulched. Solarization entails laying plastic down to kill existing vegetation and seed bank. This method has been proven effective to prevent weed competition with new plantings. Unfortunately, the process also kills beneficial soil microbes; therefore we will be adding mulch to reintroduce the helpful microflora. One plot will be at Greenways Conservation Area in Wayland and three will be at Wolbach Farm in Sudbury. Of the approximate 1650 plants total in the spring planting, 1250 plugs will be ordered from local nurseries, 200 milkweed plants have been awarded by a grant through Monarch Watch, and 200 will raised by volunteers from seeds collected on SVT reservations.
This project will aid native pollinators by not only increasing the abundance of quality foraging plants and bee-nesting habitat along the Sudbury River, a major migratory corridor, but by reaching out to families in the community to promote the difference they can make in their own backyard.