Westbound Bliss Rest Area on I-84
now features pollinator garden

If you’re traveling west on Interstate 84, you’ll notice something new and soon-to-be colorful at the Bliss Rest Area. A partnership between ITD, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Native Roots LLC has resulted in a new pollinator garden.

This year, the rest area in Idaho will be buzzing with pollinators, demonstrating to the traveling public what is possible in an arid region of Idaho.

ITD’s Roadside Vegetation Coordinator Cathy Ford is appreciative of the collaboration that produced the garden.

“Partnerships like this are increasing, as we take advantage of the combined knowledge and partake in resources that one partner alone might not have access to.”

Ford said that after removing sod and weeds from the location, mulch and rich topsoil was added to the surface, and a drip-irrigation system was added. Drip irrigation will be used during the first two years to get the roots established. Dozens of flowering plants, like the cordroot beardtongue (above in lavender) and the firecracker penstemon (below in red), were also added. Native plants (mostly forbs, grasses and a few shrubs) were carefully chosen to fit the arid environment and provide pollinator habitat.

Gravel pathways were also added that will move visitors through the pollinator garden. (pictured at right)

The essential nature of bugs and bees in Idaho’s economy, which is largely rooted in agriculture, was celebrated this past week during Idaho Pollinator Week. The week is marked annually each June. Here's a link to the Xerces site for those interested in learning more about the week's activities.

A number of ITD's District 4 employees were key to this project, including Scott Malone, Tony Rigby, Carl Horn, Phil Etchart and Bryan Fager. D4 was looking for ways to reduce watering costs and quantities, while also encouraging pollination.

Published 06-21-19