I-76 designated as new 'Colorado Pollinator Highway'

The new designation on I-76 from Denver to Nebraska is a way to raise awareness and educate people about how important pollinators like honeybees are to the state. Bees are dying off in an alarming rate.

KUSA - Interstate 76 is getting a new name.

A resolution just passed by Colorado lawmakers is designating a stretch of the highway as the "Colorado Pollinator Highway."

The new designation of I-76 from Denver to Nebraska is a way to raise awareness and educate people about how important pollinators, like honeybees, are to the state.

Bees are dying off in an alarming rate.

Last year, the U.S. lost 44 percent of its honeybee colonies.

The Colorado-based non-profit People and Pollinators Action Network worked alongside state transportation officials to determine which highway was best to name as the new "pollinator highway."

"That corridor represents an opportunity for pollinators to find forage, which is their food sources, a place for them to migrate and nest, and it goes through many sorts of habitats so it's a perfect opportunity," said Joyce Kennedy, the coordinator for People and Pollinators Action Network.

Kennedy says not only will the new designation promote awareness, but it will also help increase habitats for pollinators.

"We can do that by planting lots of flowers really, and we work with homeowners, neighborhoods, and also large landscapes," she said. "So we are thinking of the state as a whole and how important habitats can be increased." 

The Colorado Department of Transportation will also be working to help by factoring habitat protection into its management of the highway.

"They can reduce the amount of mowing they do along the highway, that's really a win-win, it saves money for the state and it also provides more forage for the pollinators," Kennedy said. "They will continue to look at methods whereby they can plant native plants in appropriate places."

While the most familiar, and most in need, pollinator is bees, this new designation is also aimed at helping other types of pollinating animals and insects like butterflies and bats.

Signs will eventually be installed along the highway with its new designation.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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