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Bill package would protect pollinators in the state

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Michigan honey bee numbers have been dropping for more than a decade. A package of bills in Lansing would work to protect these, and other pollinators throughout the state.

The bills would set up a pollinator protection fund for habitat restoration projects. A pollinator health advisory council would also be formed to better weigh the needs of Michigan pollinators.

State Representative Tom Cochran is sponsoring one of the bills. He said the state transportation department puts in new plants after construction, and he hopes to get them on board.

“We see that they’re planting more indigenous flowering species so we’re hoping that they would look at the idea behind those that are friendly to pollinators so we can attract more bees and butterflies, the idea being that we create more habitat; because that’s a big part of the impact we’re seeing on our pollinators is loss of habitat.”

Cochran said other efforts can slow pollinator decline. For example not using pesticides on windy days or in excessive quantities.

He said pollinators play a vital role in the state’s agricultural industry, so it’s important they are protected.

The bills are currently in committee in the House.