Habitat planted at McAlpine Locks and Dam to help pollination - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Habitat planted at McAlpine Locks and Dam to help pollination

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- They're a key player in the U.S. economy and how the human race gets its food. However, pollinators like honey bees and butterflies, are on a steep decline. As a result, Louisville's U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is answering the nation's call to help.

"The pollinators are the ones that allow the plants to produce fruit and to produce seed for other plants. One bite of every three bites we consume as humans is a direct result from pollinators," Keith Chasteen, Natural Resources Management Specialist of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Louisville District said.

According to Chasteen, the monarch butterfly population has dropped by more than 90 percent in the last 15 years. "If we lose the pollinators or pollination is decreased anymore, then we may find as a human race, we could be struggling to even feed ourselves," Chasteen said.

Two years ago, the White House issued a memo to take a hard look at the collapse of honey bees and butterflies. "It addressed the need that we should look at our lands that we manage," Chasteen said.

As a result, the government developed a strategy. "You create the habitat and they will come. They really will," Chasteen said.

Last week, about 100 volunteers planted on an acre and a half of the McAlpine Locks and Dam. It also saves labor, costs, and emissions from mowing.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans on planting 12 acres in total over the next several years. "We hope to make a little mecca available right here in Louisville where folks can come out and take a walk through some native vegetation," Chasteen said.

He is hopeful the nation can come back from this issue and says it will take everyone helping from their home. "Plant a couple different species in there and the insects will come and the buzz will be on."

The federal government hopes to restore or enhance seven million acres for pollinators over the next five years.

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