According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants depend on pollinators to reproduce. In the U.S., bees are the main pollinators of fruits and vegetables.
But their numbers are falling. Habitat loss, disease, parasites, and environmental contaminants have contributed to the decline of more than 4,000 species of native bees in North America.
One simple way that conservationists recommend to reverse the trend is to plant wildflowers native to the region.
That's what Union County, N.C., is doing with its Solid Waste Management Facility.
The county's Cooperative Extension, Parks and Recreation, and Public Works Division of Solid Waste partnered with the Union County Master Gardeners and Union County Bee Keepers Association to plant bee-friendly clover over sections of the Union County landfill.
The 10-acre portion was declared inactive in December 1997 and properly closed per North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality requirements in March 1998. The organizations hope other local wildlife as well as bees will benefit from the new ground cover.
“This is a very important project and we’re proud to be a part of it,” says Solid Waste Division Director Ron Gilkerson. “Bees are extremely valuable to us and over the last decade, startling research has shown that these hardworking creatures are in decline. We’re excited to work with gardeners and bee keepers to do our part and help reverse the trend.”