Pollinator Strategy for the Closed Landfill Program

Program Policy Statement — 2019

Background Picture of Wild Aster at the Red Rock Closed Landfill

Pollinator species like bees and butterflies are in decline locally and globally, and the Closed Landfill Program (CLP) is stepping up to help. Many foods grown in the United States are produced with the help of pollinating insects. They are an essential part of our ecosystem. The decline in many pollinator species is due, in part, to a decline in habitat and the increased use of herbicides and pesticides on crops and lawns.

The CLP realizes the important opportunity we have to do our part to support and create vital pollinator habitat. We currently manage 110 closed landfills on roughly 8,500 acres of land throughout Minnesota. Improving pollinator habitat and decreasing the amount of chemicals we spray will help not only pollinators but a number of other species, including other insects, mammals, birds, and humans.

Closed landfills in Minnesota contribute methane, carbon dioxide (CO2), and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere through waste decomposition. Some of those greenhouse gases are captured and destroyed at landfills with flares but much of it is still passively venting into the atmosphere. Pollinators help promote the growth of new plants that naturally remove CO2 from the air, and store carbon in the soil. 

The CLP Pollinator Strategy is guided by Executive Order 19-28 signed on April 5, 2019 by Governor Tim Walz. The executive order states, in part:

“The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency ("MPCA") will manage closed landfills under its supervision to create, protect, and enhance pollinator habitat.”

The efforts described in the CLP Pollinator Strategy are also supported and encouraged by the Interagency Pollinator Protection Team (IPPT), which is comprised of state agency experts from Minnesota Departments of Administration, Agriculture, Corrections, Education, Health, Natural Resources, and Transportation, the Environmental Quality Board, the Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the Minnesota Zoo. IPPT members are tasked to work with their respective organizations to take immediate actions to restore pollinator health in the state.

Objectives

The CLP Pollinator Strategy is intended to support the  IPPT desired outcome of  “healthy, diverse pollinator populations that can sustain and enhance Minnesota’s environment, economy, and quality of life” as stated in the IPPT’s 2018 pollinator report. 

The CLP Pollinator Strategy follows three goals identified by the IPPT.

Goal 1: Lands throughout Minnesota support healthy, diverse, and abundant pollinator populations.
  • The CLP will improve pollinator habitat on closed landfill lands.
    • When seeding for CLP projects, use pollinator-friendly seed mixes to provide food and habitat for numerous species.
    • Create pollinator habitat through partnerships and making land available through easement and/or lease for pollinator projects.
Goal 2: Minnesotans use pesticides judiciously and only when necessary, in order to reduce the harm to pollinators from pesticides while retaining economic strength.
  • The CLP will reduce impacts to pollinators from chemicals.
    • Track and analyze the CLP’s herbicide use.
    • Avoid using any pesticides or herbicides that harm pollinators or pollinator habitat.
    • Use herbicide only when necessary using the most environmentally sensitive and effective method.
Goal 3: Minnesota understands values, and actively supports pollinators populations.
  • The CLP will publicize and promote our pollinator strategy.
    • Create a webpage presenting CLP pollinator strategies and efforts on closed landfills.
    • Integrate education about pollinator projects when sharing information about CLP managed sites.

As always, the CLP’s primary mission is to reduce risk at closed landfills and protect people living and working near them. We are shifting our existing land management approach to one that will more effectively create, enhance, and protect pollinators and pollinator habitat. It is our way of caring for the environment into the future.

Contact

For more information about the CLP's Pollinator Strategy, contact:

Laura Marti
laura.marti@state.mn.us
507-344-5259