Utah Pollinator Habitat Program – you can apply to receive native plants for pollinators.

Dear Cathy Babcook,

Thank you for your application to participate in the second year of the Utah Pollinator Habitat Program! Our selection committee has reviewed your application and we are pleased to offer you an award in the amount of 3 upland and 0 wetland plant kits (a total of 90 plants) to use in your pollinator habitat project.

Below you will find a list of next steps and what to expect:

  1. Below, you will see a link to a very short Survey123 form (an online survey form). Here you can tell us if you wish to accept these plants and continue with the program. https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/6989854a3d82495aae1a4584c3e391f8  This questionnaire should be completed from your computer or phone no later than August 28, 2023. *If you choose to no longer participate in this program, this will be the final step in your application process.
  2. In the coming weeks, you will be asked to review and sign a required Project Partner Agreement (electronic signature or print capabilities may be available). Signed Agreements may be completed electronically or brought in person to plant pick-ups at your designated distribution center. However please note that this Agreement must be signed before you can receive your plant kits!

We will be hosting our Awardee Webinar on August 29th at 6pm. You will receive an invite via email. The webinar is designed to assist you with site preparation, planting suggestions, and answer any questions you might have regarding project participation. We will have a guest speaker this year from the National Bee Laboratory in Logan Utah – a national leader in native bee research. A reminder link for participating will be sent to your email. We highly recommend attending, although a recorded version will be available following the webinar on our program website: (https://ag.utah.gov/farmers/conservation-division/pollinator-program/). This webinar will be recorded for those who cannot attend on the specified date.

In the weeks leading up to plant pick-up, please make sure your site is adequately prepared for planting; remove weeds or turf, ensure irrigation is functional, avoid pesticide and herbicide applications prior to plant installation, and determine if/what type of mulch you intend to acquire and use. Additional resources are available on the program website, including a list of potential plant species provided in upland and wetland habitat kits (species may vary), informational pdf’s for each native plant species, a planting guide, and maintenance guide.

Plant kits will be available for pickup ONLY at regionally designated distribution centers. Dates and locations will be sent out with our next correspondence. If you are unable to pick up your awarded plants, please arrange for someone to pick them up for you. If plants remain unclaimed, they will be awarded to other applicants. Staff will be on-site to help load your plants and answer questions. Remember that 3 kits = 90 potted plants (each pot is about 4×4 inches, each nursery-type tray fits between 15 and 28 plants). Please make sure you have adequate transportation space.

Finally, plan to put your plants in the ground as soon as possible (2 weeks maximum following plant pickup). This will help ensure they have a chance to adequately establish roots before the end of the growing season, and increase their likelihood of success.

Please keep in mind that at the end of your project you will be asked to provide information about your investment of time and resources into the project (labor, equipment, additional funding sources). This information will help show our program funders (Utah Legislature) that selected participants are willing to spend their valuable time and materials to make this program successful.*All location and cost-share information will be kept private and confidential unless you give us permission to share.

Some important things to keep in mind:

  • Project applicants were awarded plant kits based on a set criteria that support Utah’s native pollinators. Each project was ranked numerically based on application responses and project thoroughness.
  • This year (2023), all plant kit awardees were allocated a minimum of 3 habitat kits (to cover approximately 900 sq ft of project area) and a maximum of 10 habitat kits. This reflects availability of our grow out numbers and ensures that all deserving projects are able to be accommodated with plants. The 3 kit minimum ensures appropriate habitat resources to support pollinators as a stand-alone project. You may not receive more or less than this amount, but may decline plant kits and request seed packets as an alternative or addition to your project. You can specify this in your Survey123 response.
  • While honey bees are very important for some agricultural practices, this program prioritized habitats specific to native pollinators and their needs. Honey bees are an introduced species that can outcompete native bees for floral resources and thus applicants with active hives received lower rankings in our scoring matrix.
  • Projects with adequate irrigation sources ranked higher because these ensure a higher rate of plant establishment. Native plants are better adapted to local climate conditions, and once established should be much more water-wise than non-native species. Providing reliable irrigation during the establishment phase is critical.
  • As our maintenance guide discusses (see program website), planting and maintaining a native habitat is not a maintenance-free journey. While it can be a rewarding experience in many ways, native plants generally take longer to establish and can bring a host of interesting changes to your landscape. Be prepared for some fun surprises (such as plants re-seeding better than expected, new/different pollinators visiting your space, and improved water conservation), as well as challenges (a possible increase of non-desirable weeds, the need for creative problem solving, an ever-evolving habitat). We would be interested in any photos you wish to share during your native plant journey. Please contact us for additional information on how you can contribute to the program by documenting your successes and challenges.
  • Regarding weed barrier: please leave some ground exposed within your site, free of weed barrier or ground cloth.  Many native pollinators and insects use the plants and ground for nesting and overwintering. More detailed suggestions can be found in our Planting Guide and Maintenance Guide under ‘Additional Resources’ on the website (https://ag.utah.gov/farmers/conservation-division/pollinator-program/).

Unfortunately, we were unable to award kits to everyone who applied this year. Out of a requested 2,069 habitat kits in 2023, we were able to fulfill a select 1,072 kits to 237 projects (for a total of 32,160 native plants to be distributed this year). Those that did not receive kits are encouraged to apply again next year, as are recipient projects encouraged to apply for additional kits next year. Congratulations on being one of our pollinator habitat recipients due to your noted commitment and plan for successful establishment of a native plants!

This program funding is possible thanks to HB 224 passed by the Utah State Legislature. We are highly encouraged by the overwhelming response from applicants across Utah. We plan to expand our growing capacity and plant availability in the following years, especially with the addition of more desert-adapted plant species. Please help us spread the word! For additional information or more resources to support pollinators, please visit our website: https://ag.utah.gov/farmers/conservation-division/pollinator-program/.

Again, we appreciate your interest and participation in the Utah Pollinator Habitat Program. This is the second year of the Utah Pollinator Habitat Program, and we continue to seek ways to make it a success. We welcome your feedback and are happy to answer any questions or comments about the program. Questions and comments may be sent to [email protected]. Thank you for helping us expand the availability of native pollinator habitat in Utah!


The Utah Pollinator Habitat Program Committee

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