Pollinators

Insectaries for Pollinators and Farm Biodiversity:
An Innovative Pilot Project

This project was a pilot effort to enhance pollinator habitat on seven working farms, including a vineyard, three organic vegetable crop farms, a cattle ranch, an orchard, and one diverse farm with grapes, vegetable crops, and livestock.

Digger bee, photo credit: Steve Johnson
Digger bee, photo credit: Steve Johnson
The project was a collaborative effort led by the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District, including participation from Farm Stewards, Partners for Sustainable Pollination, the Xerces Society, the North Coast Resource Conservation and Development Council, and the many landowners and community members who helped to plant nearly 2 acres of pollinator habitat using over 6,100 plants.

The partners worked in close collaboration with EQIP-eligible landowners to develop and implement Farm Pollinator Plans specific to each property with a particular focus on enhancing native bee habitat, while working to improve yields and farm profits. The plans included a variety of measures such as the creation of hedgerows, field borders, nesting structures, appropriate flowering cover crop mixes, contour buffer strips and drift barriers, critical area planting, filter strips, and riparian and farm pond revegetation.

Plantings were specifically designed to provide nesting habitat and year-round pollen and nectar sources for both native bee species and honeybees, while also supporting other pollinator species such as hummingbirds and bats. Native bees have diverse habitat needs, as many are ground nesters, cavity nesters, or stem borers. This necessitated that plans use species beyond simply flowering plants, including rushes, sedges, or woody species known to house cavity nesters. Plantings also had to take into account flower shapes, colors, and bloom times. A list of plant species used in the project can be found in the link below.

Orchard bee, photo credit: Steve Johnson
Orchard bee, photo credit: Steve Johnson

Several of the plantings were conducted in areas where irrigation was not feasible, including a rangeland property and a non-irrigated vineyard. The rangeland site used DriWater®, packets of a gel which is digested by soil microbes to release water as soil dries. The packets need to be replaced every six weeks during the dry season. The non-irrigated vineyard site used Groasis Waterboxxes®, plastic tubs which trap water through condensation while providing weed control and browse protection.

Project staff monitored plantings using Citizen Science Monitoring techniques developed by the Xerces Society, in order to determine native bee abundance and diversity within the plantings. Sites were also monitored for plant survival.

Leaf-cutter bee, photo credit: Steve Johnson
Leaf-cutter bee, photo credit: Steve Johnson

The Gold Ridge RCD is currently seeking additional funding to continue the pollinator program, and is soliciting EQIP-eligible landowners for participation in the next round of plantings. For more information please contact:

Noelle Johnson
Noelle@GoldRidgeRCD.org
(707)823-5244

Over 1,200 plants create wildlife corridors at Rued Vineyards along Graton Road
Over 1,200 plants create wildlife corridors
at Rued Vineyards along Graton Road.

A total of 655 pollinator plants have been installed on Singing Frogs Farm
Over 1,700 plants were installed on Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastopol to enhance native pollinator habitat, wildlife corridors, and on-farm biodiversity.



More information

Gold Ridge RCD Pollinator Plant List Gold Ridge RCD Pollinator Plant List

Hedgerows for California Agriculture Hedgerows for California Agriculture
A Resource Guide


- Community Alliance with Family Farmers

California Plants for Native Bees California Plants for Native Bees
Invertabrate Conservation Fact Sheet


- The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

Selecting Plants for Pollinators In the California Coastal Steppe Selecting Plants for Pollinators
A Regional Guide for Farmers, Land Managers,
and Gardeners In the California Coastal Steppe
Mixed Forest Redwood Forest Province


- NAPPC & Pollinator Partnership

Selecting Plants for Pollinators In the California Coastal Woodland Selecting Plants for Pollinators
A Regional Guide for Farmers, Land Managers,
and Gardeners In the California Coastal Range
Open Woodland Shrub Coniferous Forest Meadow Province


- NAPPC & Pollinator Partnership

Bee Friendly Farming Bee Friendly Farming

- Partners For Sustainable Pollination



Project funded by:

Natural Resources Conservation Service logo
Natural Resources
Conservation Service
  Sonoma County Fish & Wildlife Commission logo
Sonoma County
Fish & Wildlife Commission
 
North Coast Resource Conservation & Development Council logo
North Coast Resource Conservation
& Development Council
  Wildlife Conservation Board logo
California
Wildlife Conservation Board



Project partners:

Farm Stewards logo
Farm Stewards
  Community Alliance with Family Farmers logo
Community Alliance
with Family Farmers

Xerces Society logo
Xerces Society
  Partners for Sustainable Pollination logo
Partners for
Sustainable Pollination
  Baelin logo
Baelin

Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District
2776 Sullivan Rd., Sebastopol, CA 95472
phone: (707) 823-5244   |   fax: (707) 823-5243
email: brittany@goldridgercd.org

many thanks to the Sonoma County Water Agency for funding the development of this website