Rusty patched bumblebees have been disappearing across the Midwest for years, but this endangered pollinator has found refuge in Minnetonka's Lone Lake Park — with a crucial population remaining in this one beautiful place.
But now these bees face a new threat from a proposed mountain-bike course in the park. Construction of a five-mile course would destroy habitat used by the bees for feeding and nesting. Just this summer several of the bees have been found mere feet from the trail site.
Tell Minnetonka officials to do all they can to ensure the project doesn't hurt these bees.
The Endangered Species Act allows certain projects like this to go forward — but only if the harms are absolutely minimized. So far the city doesn't have a plan, and construction is set to begin next month.
Urge the city to develop a habitat conservation plan and consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The state's bee may be small and few, but it deserves the chance to thrive.