Volunteers to Help Christen I-76, Colorado's Pollinator Highway

Oct. 24, 2018 -

JULESBURG—About 50 volunteers from the Front Range are heading to the Julesburg area this week to help launch the first project for Colorado's Pollinator Highway—Interstate 76 between the Nebraska state line and the Denver area.

The initial pollinator restoration project begins Friday, Oct. 26, and consists of volunteers planting a variety of seedlings along I-76, beginning in Julesburg and continuing northeast through Sedgwick County to the Nebraska border.

"This pilot project will build awareness and increase the desirable pollinator habitat within the highway's right of way," said CDOT Landscape Architect Section Manager Michael Banovich. "We have a good partnership with a variety of entities for this project. In addition to the CDOT environmental specialists and maintenance personnel, it includes groups such as the Butterfly Pavilion and the People Pollinators Action Network."

Arkansas Valley Seed, Granite Seed and Applewood Seed donated the seeds for the project.

This weekend's event is the first of many Pollinator Highway projects. Future activities include native grass plantings as part of an outreach garden at the Julesburg Welcome Center, additional plantings along other segments of I-76, and plantings as part of a living snow fence to mitigate blowing snow, and provide habitat for birds and pollinators.

In 2017, the state Legislature passed a joint resolution designating the 183 miles of I-76 as Colorado Pollinator Highway, allowing CDOT to reduce its maintenance costs along the right of way by utilizing vegetation management practices and limiting roadside disturbances. It also provides CDOT with better management and coordination opportunities with landowners and local governments.