St. Paul, MN - Yesterday, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved the conference committee report on H.F. 2310, the 2023 Environment, Natural Resources, Climate, and Energy Budget Bill. The bill invests over $670 million in new environmental and natural resources funding.
Included in the bill is $4 million over the next two years for the popular Lawns to Legumes program, an investment championed by Rep. Brad Tabke (DFL - Shakopee). The program offers a combination of workshops, coaching, planting guides, and individual support grants for installing pollinator-friendly native plantings in residential lawns.
“Thousands of Minnesotans across the state have participated in the Lawns to Legumes program, and it’s time to double down on this successful tool,” said Rep. Tabke. “Pollinators are vital to our food and plant production, helping to sustain our ecosystems and natural resources, and this budget will help Minnesotans bring conservation to their own backyards.”
Minnesota is home to more than 450 native bee species including our state bee, the rusty patched bumble bee. Pollinators also include moths, butterflies, beetles, and native flies. All play a key role in pollinating food crops and native plants, but populations have significantly declined worldwide in recent years. Population decline can be attributed to habitat loss and lack of related nutrition for pollinators, as well as pesticide use and pathogens.
Established by House DFLers in 2019, the Lawns to Legumes program seeks to combat pollinator population decline by creating new pollinator habitat and habitat corridors that provide food sources and nesting space for pollinators.
Previously passed as a stand-alone bill in the House, the legislation then became part of the larger budget bill. Having passed the House, the bill now goes to the Senate. Video of today’s floor debate can be found on the House Public Information YouTube channel.