The San Miguel County Parks and Open Space Department, with guidance from the Xerces Society, has planted approximately 7,500 square feet of flower-rich habitat for local butterflies and bees. This site is located at Down Valley Park in the meadow west of the public restrooms and picnic pavilion.
San Miguel County has already tilled the site and cultivated the area with 139 cubic yards of amended top soil. An irrigation system has been installed along with new pathways that allow gardeners to maintain the area.
The County completed the historic first planting of the new Pollinator Garden in May, 2017. Many volunteers assisted in the effort and planted 12-15 different pollinator species. There are currently over 75 different species of flowering annuals, perennials and shrubs. Over 95% of these plants are native to Colorado. Two native bee cabins have also been installed in the garden.
This project is funded through the ecosystem services budget of the San Miguel County Open Space Fund. We also received a $1000 grant from Colorado Weed Management Association (CWMA). Your property tax dollars at work!
Pollinators are essential to the preservation of our environment. The ecological service they provide is necessary for the reproduction of over 85% of the world's flowering plants. Monarch butterfly populations have declined by more than 80% and many species of bumble bees are at risk of extinction. Loss of habitat, widespread use of pesticides, climate change, disease, and parasites are among the leading causes of these declines.
San Miguel County is piloting a Soil Health Payment-for-Ecosystem-Services (PES) program to develop a protocol to help farmers and ranchers improve their soil and increase the water holding capacity. To learn more about this program, please visit the program page.