Protecting Pollinators

A bee on a flowerPollinators, like bees, birds, and butterflies, are important to our ecosystems. They transfer pollen in and between flowers, ensuring that plants are healthy and viable. Globally, over 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices, and medicines need to be pollinated in order to produce the goods we depend on. They also help to make sure that your garden flowers every year!

But pollinators are in danger. They are suffering due to loss of habitat and increasing pesticide use. In Minnesota, the rusty patched bumble bee is even listed on the Endangered Species list.

To help pollinators, the City of Coon Rapids is taking steps to create pollinator habitat in parks throughout the city, and supporting residents who want to create pollinator habitat in their own yards.

Pollinator Planting in the Parks

Coon Rapids is taking the lead in protecting pollinators by installing native planting areas in many of our public parks. These areas contain both flowers and grasses native to the region. Not only do these areas provide important habitat, they are also beautiful to look at.

Visit our native planting areas at the following parks:

  • Erlandson Park
  • Mason Park
  • Woodcrest Park
  • Sand Creek Park
  • Sunrise Pond Park

  • Prairie Oaks Park
  • Lions Coon Creek Park
  • Crooked Lake Park
  • Thorpe Park
  • Riverwind Park

  • Twin Fields Park
  • Pheasant Ridge Park
  • Dahlia Park
  • Delta Park
  • Riverview Park

Support for Residents

The City of Coon Rapids allows residents to provide pollinator habitat in their own yards. The most common types of residential pollinator habitat include:

  • Pollinator Gardens
  • Bee Lawns
  • Native Planting Areas
  1. Pollinator Gardens
  2. Bee Lawns
  3. Native Planting Areas

A pollinator garden

Pollinator Gardens

The City of Coon Rapids allows residents to plant pollinator gardens to provide habitat for bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects. A well-designed and maintained pollinator garden will attract people as well as pollinators.

Pollinator gardens can contain both native and non-native, pollinator-friendly plants. It’s best to include diverse plant species, with different heights, flower shapes, and bloom times, to benefit a wide variety of pollinators through spring, summer, and fall.

Read more about the four ways you can help pollinators in your own yard and neighborhood.

For in-depth information and resources regarding pollinator gardens, see the MN Board of Soil and Water Resources Lawns to Legumes Program page.

Applicable Coon Rapids City Ordinances

To comply with Coon Rapids ordinances, your pollinator garden can include native plants, but cannot take the form of a native prairie or meadow. A native prairie is subject to different city regulations than a pollinator garden.

What’s the difference between a pollinator garden and a native planting area?

Because they can both contain native plants, there is some overlap between native planting areas, which are governed by a City ordinance, and pollinator gardens, which are treated the same as any other residential garden. Here are some tips on knowing the difference between the two:

Pollinator gardens, like traditional flower gardens, are intentionally designed. They may contain non-native plants as well as native species. In both formal and informal designs, plants are placed to be visually appealing, with defined edges or borders. Gardens are intensively maintained, controlling weeds using methods like hand pulling and mulching.

Native planting areas are meant to mimic a natural prairie or meadow. Instead of being intentionally placed and controlled, plants are allowed to grow randomly, as they would in nature. Native planting areas are often larger in scale than pollinator gardens, and are commonly started with seed mixtures. Native planting areas are intensively maintained at first, but become largely self-maintaining after about three years.

If you have questions about pollinator gardens or native landscaping areas, contact Olivia Dorow Hovland at odorowhovland@coonrapidsmn.gov

Additional Resources

City of Coon Rapids: How To Help Pollinators

MN Board of Soil and Water Resources: Planting for Pollinators Design Guide

University of Minnesota: Creating a butterfly garden