A new federal grant program aims to attract pollinators to millions of open hectares along American roads.

The Invasive Plant Elimination Program, funded through the U.S. Department of Transportation, will help government officials and Native American tribes to uproot invasive plants and replace them with native grasses and wildflowers that attract bees, monarch butterflies and other pollinators.

Monarch butterfly on pink milkweed flower (© Ann Heisenfelt/AP Images)
A monarch butterfly eats nectar from a swamp milkweed in Minnesota. (© Ann Heisenfelt/AP Images)

Pollinators help maintain healthy ecosystems. But wild pollinators, including the monarch butterfly and several bumblebee species, are in decline due to pesticide use, disease and habitat degradation.

New planting will happen along railroads and highways as well as smaller, local roads, thanks to $250 million allocated as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which President Biden signed into law in 2021.

Bee with pollen on its legs, flying (© Suzy Mast)
A bee with pollen on its legs flies away from a flower in Florida. (© Suzy Mast)