The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) applauds Representatives Alcee Hastings (D-Florida) and Jeff Denham (R-California) for introducing today the Highways Bettering the Economy and Environment Pollinator Protection Act (Highways BEE Act), a bipartisan bill that will bolster the population of native pollinating species with the help of landscape architects.

Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, birds and bats are vital to the American landscape – playing a critical role in food production, healthy and diverse ecosystems and vibrant communities. In recent years, these essential species have suffered population losses, due in part to loss of habitat, bee pests and parasites. Our nation needs to act now, collectively, to reverse this trend through sustainable landscape design practices.

The Highways BEE Act provides an unparalleled opportunity to conserve 17 million acres of conservation habitat on transportation rights-of-way by including landscape architecture principles and practices to help foster pollinators. The bill promotes the creation and maintenance of high-quality habitats for pollinators along our nation’s highways. Studies show that planting native plants and grasses along roads—such as the butterfly milkweed—provide pollinators with migratory corridors, habitat and food.

Landscape architects are key players in improving pollinator habitat and provide invaluable ecological services. This legislation will allow them to restore and preserve natural ecosystems on highway rights-of-way while helping bolster the populations of native pollinating species.

We urge Congress to move forward with this important legislation, and we are committed to working with members of Congress, the administration and other stakeholders to ensure its enactment.

Pollinators are irreplaceable. Let’s not drop the ball.