This project was established because state wildlife diversity programs were aware of a number of rare pollinators that depend on these habitats. The main objective of the project is to improve habitat condition across the region - but a side benefit is that we are learning more about the species diversity of these habitats. While very few of these sites have ongoing pollinator monitoring programs, several have had episodic monitoring from which we have begun to understand the biodiversity of pollinators in and around these habitats.

Halictidae Augochlorella aurata

credit: USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab


178 species of bees have been found at sites participating in this project. Nine of these species are listed as Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need and one is federally listed endangered.

These bees represent 6 families:

Andrenidae: 30 species (mining bees)

Apidae: 40 species (bumble, cuckoo, and carpenter bees)

Colletidae: 12 species (cellophane bees)

Halictidae: 66 species (sweat bees)

Megachilidae: 27 species (solitary, mason, and leaf-cutter bees)

Melittidae: 2 species (oil-collecting bees)

Butterflies and moths


Many butterflies are habitat specialists because they rely on specific plants to host the larval stage. Monarchs famously rely on milkweed - and many butterflies in barrens habitats rely on the unique plants found in these fire-adapted habitats.

148 species of Lepidoptera have been recorded at these sites through a number of different survey efforts. 31 of these are listed as Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need, and one, the Karner Blue Butterfly, is federally listed Endangered.

Baptisia tinctoria (Wild Indigo)

credit: Helen Lowe Metzman; Howard County Maryland

© 2019 by Elizabeth Crisfield on behalf of the Northeast Fish and WIldlife Diversity Committee and the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.