Strategies for Urban Pollinator Management Using Habitat Monitoring and Restoration Planning in Portland Oregon

Loss of habitat is a major factor in the decline of insect pollinators. Much of this loss can be attributed to monoculture farming, which is prevalent in Oregon. Depending on the crop this approach to agriculture can create food deserts for native pollinators and presents dangerous exposures to pesticides. The resulting loss of habitat creates an opportunity for research on urban pollinator restoration. Many untapped land sources in urban environments may be improved to support a diverse abundance of pollinators. In this case study I wanted to understand what native bees and other insect pollinators could be observed at varied urban sites across Portland, Oregon, and what floral resources they utilized. I performed pollinator monitoring at 8 sites in the summer of 2019 with assistance from Portland State University (PSU) and community volunteers. Using a variation of The Xerces Society Monitoring Protocol, which organizes bees into 10 morphogroups, we collected observational data on existent pollinators and their use of floral resources. Additionally, collection cups (traps filled with soapy water) were set at five of the sites in order to illustrate which morphogroups may have been present when we were not actively monitoring. This information allowed for deeper analysis of factors that may be supporting or hindering pollinator populations in these urban sites. This monitoring revealed that there are multiple different morphogroups of native bees present at these sites. Many of these native bees as well as flies, wasps and butterflies are utilizing floral species that are non-native and often considered invasive and which typically are the dominant floral resources at these sites.