Policy Options

Pollinator Protection 2021



NCEL Point of Contact

Ruth Musgrave
Conservation Senior Advisor



Pollinators are declining rapidly due to a number of factors, including loss of habitat, loss of forage, and pesticides. Many states have enacted or are considering legislation to acquire, restore and/or protect pollinator habitat, as well as to restrict the application of pesticides and other chemicals that are harmful to pollinators. Below are a few of the policy options available to states. All bills listed below have passed unless stated otherwise.

Citizen Participation Initiatives

  • Minnesota HF 776 (2019) – Creates a “Lawns to Legumes” Program to allow citizens to apply for grants to develop pollinator habitat in their yards, ($900 k budgeted for a one-year pilot). State ecologists have created online planting guides and tips for interested homeowners.
  • New Jersey AR 216 (2017) – Encourages homeowners to plant native plants that support bee populations and create habitat for all pollinators.
  • California A.B. 2106 (2020-Died) – Includes provision to authorize direct payments and other incentives to encourage landowners to voluntarily cultivate or maintain pollinator plants to provide waterfowl and other game bird nesting habitat cover.

Pollinator Habitat/Corridors for State and Local Lands

  • Minnesota H.F.2553 (2020) – To develop pollinator habitat and “pollinator highways.”
  • New York S. 7008 (2020) – To develop policies for agencies, volunteers and others to create pollinator-friendly medians along highways.
  • New Jersey A4605 (2017) – Provide tax credits for developing native pollinator habitat on undeveloped property.
  • New Jersey A2125 (2020) – To develop “pollinator pathways” with designations for municipalities.

Options for Working Lands

  • Ohio HB 485 (2020) – Removes a requirement for farmland owners to annually renew CAUV (Current Agricultural Use Value) program membership. CAUV is a tax-incentive based option to create pollinator habitat.
  • Encourage or require “buffer stripsof native flowering plants around pesticide-treated crops or along streams, as suggested by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Solar and Industry Facility Voluntary Pollinator Plantings

  • Illinois SB 3214 (2019) – Provides that an owner of a ground-mounted solar site may follow practices that: provide native perennial vegetation and foraging habitat which is beneficial to game birds, songbirds, and pollinators; and reduce stormwater runoff and erosion at the solar site.
  • Minnesota SF 3018 (2016) – An owner of a ground-mounted solar site with a 40+ kw generating capacity may follow practices that provide native perennial vegetation and foraging habitat beneficial to gamebirds, songbirds, and pollinators; and reduce stormwater runoff and erosion at the site. An owner making a beneficial habitat claim must make the site’s vegetation management plan available to the public and provide a copy of the plan to a Minnesota nonprofit solar industry trade association.

Neonicotinoid Restrictions

  • Vermont H. 205 (2019) – Requires the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets to register neonicotinoid pesticides approved for outdoor use as restricted use pesticides. Restricted use pesticides shall be sold by only a licensed dealer and shall only be applied by State certified applicators.
  • New Jersey A. 2070 (2020-Introduced) – Directs the DEP to classify neonicotinoids are restricted use pesticides.
  • Illinois HB 5900 (2017 – Died) – Restrict or prohibit application of neonicotinoids on public lands or in outdoor residential areas.
  • Maryland HB 211 (2016) – Restrict use of pesticides such as neonicotinoids by consumers.
  • Oregon HB 4139 (2014 – Enrolled) – Require information be provided to pesticide applicators and others on how to protect pollinators, and include in applicator education for licensing exams, such as OR HB 4139.


  • New Mexico SB 234 (2019) – Establishes pollinator license plate to fund DOT pollinator protection activities (a youth art contest was held for the license plate artwork).
  • Minnesota SF 2963 (2016) – Funds native bee and butterfly surveys and study native bees and plants.
  • Maryland HB 132 (2016) – Funding for relevant state agencies to establish a pollinator habitat plan – the completed plan from 2017 is viewable here.
  • New Jersey S92 (2020- Introduced) – Authorizes issuance of Protect Pollinator license plates.

Pollinator Task Force for Study and Recommendations

  • Virginia SB 356 (2016) – Funded task force to produce recommendations and/or strategies to protect pollinators.
  • Rhode Island H 8265 (2016) – Created a task force to study and recommend actions for pollinator health and habitat -2017 initial report from the working group is here.


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