(1) Subject to the availability of amounts appropriated for this specific purpose, the commission is authorized to develop an ongoing small grants program to provide funding to the conservation districts to educate residents and community groups in urban, suburban, and rural nonfarm areas about the value of habitat for both managed and native pollinators, and to provide the necessary technical and financial assistance and materials to create it.
(2) Educational efforts should include the benefits of habitat diversity, especially pollen-rich and nectar-rich flowering forbs and shrubs. Preference for pollinator plants should be given to native plants or noninvasive, nonnative plants.
(3) Planting projects should provide diverse native or nonnative, noninvasive plants of high quality for pollinator foraging, nesting, and overwintering, as determined by site suitability. Options may include, but are not limited to, bee or eco-lawns, flowering meadow gardens, xeriscaping, shrub plantings, tree plantings, rain gardens, riparian restoration, and other pollinator-friendly landscaping.
(4) Criteria to rank applicants should include a detailed budget demonstrating funding needs, resource concerns addressed, value to at-risk native pollinators, multiple-use benefits of habitat, planned project longevity, and plans for long-term maintenance.