The Summit Soil and Water Conservation District would like to express its overwhelming support and gratitude to the City of Akron and Summit County Council for amending their noxious weed ordinances to allow for the planting and growing of our native plants such as milkweed, goldenrod, asters, and more.
For many years now, Summit SWCD has been promoting, and providing native plants (through our plant sales) for planting in raingardens, pollinator gardens, riparian buffers, and green infrastructure, to reduce stormwater runoff and the resulting pollution. Native plants are very effective for stormwater control since they have extremely long roots which absorb stormwater and pollutants and hold the soil in place, preventing soil erosion.
Native plants are also aligned with our native soils and climate and have co-evolved with native pollinators and other wildlife in our region since the glaciers left around 12,000 years ago. The number of pollinators, especially bees and butterflies, has fallen dramatically, due to habitat loss from urbanization and development. and pesticide use.
Pollinators provide pollination services to over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1200 crops. That means that 1 out of every three bites of food you eat is there because of pollinators. Pollinators are essential for life on our planet, and we need to make the commitment to restore their lost habitat and food resources, native plants.
It always seemed counter-intuitive to promote the planting of these native plants to our residents, realizing the possibility that their municipality might enforce an archaic rule and force them to remove their native plants if neighbors complained about their height or untidy appearance.
We hope that the innovation and foresight expressed by the City of Akron and Summit County, when passing the new native plant ordinances, will spread to other communities and counties in Ohio. If it does, our whole region will become a sustainable habitat where iconic species like Monarch butterflies can thrive and successfully migrate on their long journey to Mexico, and our bees and other pollinators can continue to live their tiny lives supporting all the rest of us.
Akron Beacon Journal
Greater Akron Audubon Society