ROCKFORD — Winnebago County will use a $5,500 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore a habitat for an endangered bumble bee.
The Rockford Register Star reports the rusty patched bumblebee was added to the federal endangered species list in March. It’s one of 10 bumblebee species found in Winnebago County.
The Forest Preserves of Winnebago County will use the grant to create an ideal habitat for the bumblebee by restoring 15 acres of Kieselburg Forest Preserve in Machesney Park with prairie grass and wildflowers.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials say the bumblebee’s population has declined by 87 percent since the late 1990s. Wildlife biologists say disease, parasites, pesticides, loss of habitat and climate change could be reasons for the decline.