The Pollinator Project

In 2021 Clark Public Utilities launched the Pollinator Project looking at how we could support native bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators in our community. Our gardens are designed with many elements that can be easily incorporated into your own outdoor spaces.

Pollinator gardens are a great way to add interest and biodiversity to your home gardens or workplace landscape. These gardens are designed to provide nesting sites and resources that attract bees, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, and even hummingbirds. These animals perform the crucial role of pollination–making it possible for much of our food and flowers to grow. Creating a pollinator garden for your home can be relatively simple, requiring low maintenance, and can have a very positive impact on our community.

What Can We Do

Pollinators are facing the same environmental challenges as most species, including habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species and diseases, and the overuse of pesticides. One of the cornerstone principles of restoring habitat for pollinators is planting the native plants on which local populations of bees and butterflies depend. Native plants are also preferred for a pollinator gardens because they are adapted to the local growing conditions, require less water and have fewer pests. The use of non-native plants with flowers can be used effectively to increase the amount of nectar and pollen that is available and to extend the bloom time.

Creating a Pollinator-friendly Landscape

  1. Use a wide variety of plants that bloom from early spring into late fall and group similar plants together rather than intermixing different varieties.
  2. Use native plants that are adapted to our region and have a variety of bloom types from open flowers like asters to tubular flowers such as penstemon.
  3. Avoid modern hybrid flowers, especially those with double flowers because they often lack nectar and pollen.
  4. Eliminate pesticides whenever possible.
  5. Include larval host plants in your landscape for butterfly and moth caterpillars to eat. Most of them only eat specific plants. This also means accepting some leaf damage.
  6. Provide nesting sites for native bees. 70% of bees nest in the ground so avoid using bark mulch. And consider not cutting back your spent perennial stems to the ground. The hollow stems provide sites for cavity nesters.
  7. Talk to your neighbors about the importance of pollinators and how to create healthy habitats.

Operations Center Pollinator Garden

To encourage pollinators to visit our garden, we have provided plants that bloom throughout the season, larval host plants for caterpillars to feed on, a sunny location, shelter from the wind and most importantly, a pesticide-free environment. We also left bare soil for ground nesting bees.

We started with a variety of nectar-producing native and non-native plants that grow to different heights, with a wide range of flower shapes and colors. We imitated nature by massing multiples of each plant species lessening the distance pollinators need to travel between flowers. This mass planting technique will suppress weeds and increases the aesthetic appeal of the garden, creating drifts of color. For a list of the plants we used and what pollinators they attract, click here.

You are welcome to stop by the pollinator garden at the Operations Center at 8600 NE 117th Avenue in Vancouver during regular business hours for ideas and inspiration. And each year we will be adding more locations for you, and the pollinators to enjoy. So keep checking back with us.

Our Commitment

The Pollinator Project is part of Clark Public Utilities’ continued commitment to environmental stewardship and using resources responsibly to foster healthy habitats and support native wildlife. Please check out our other environmental programs and consider volunteering at one of the next events.

Explore and Learn More


StreamTeam

StreamTeam is our volunteer-driven stream restoration program. Every year, volunteers plant more than 50,000 native trees and help educate community members. READ MORE ›

PowerZone

Know a child that is interested in pollinators and science in general? Have them check out our new website for children. Its full of lots of information as well as games and activities. READ MORE ›

Eradication Nation

This grant-funded program focuses on removing aggressive, non-native plants like knotweed, invasive blackberry and canary grass. READ MORE ›