Pollinator Pilot Project

Page 11 Photo1Through an agreement with the NRCS and the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Districts, RCCD has been actively enhancing pollinator habitat with management techniques to help expand existing milkweed stands at several sites in Rockingham County. Due to additional restoration and management concerns, RCCD will now partner with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) located in Newmarket to complete a combined pollinator and grassland habitat enhancement project. Other partners include the Strafford CCD, NH Fish and Game, and The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. RCCD will enhance the habitat diversity and quality within a 16-acre open field for the benefit of declining species of both grassland nesting birds and insect pollinators. Over the next two years RCCD will assist in creating a 2.5 acre pollinator meadow and will improve a 13.5 acre grassland, and will be shared and promoted through volunteer engagement and workshops. The TNC site is part of the 282-acre Lubberland Creek Preserve that contains a mowed footpath through the field as part of a trail network at the Preserve. Planting milkweed and carefully timed mowing are two strategies promoted to help the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexip-pus) species recover across its migratory pathway as they migrate south to Mexico. Milkweed is one of the main hosts for Monarch butterflies as it provides them with nectar sources to help lay eggs and make their migration south.
RCCD will collect on-site milkweed seeds for greenhouse growth and will plant those seedlings as well as plant other native companion nectar plants for many species of beneficial native insects. The project will include workshops and opportunities for volunteer engagement.

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