Farmers Worry That Road Project Would Turn Productive Bees Into Road Kill

By Lynda V. Mapes   (Seattle Times - 8/7/12)

The world's largest managed population of native pollinators in Walla Walla County is in the path of a state road-construction project.

TOUCHET, Walla Walla County — For decades, Mike Buckley has farmed his family place with hard work and the help of millions of native pollinators: alkali bees.

But the bees — and the livelihoods of the farmers who depend on them — are in the path of a proposed widening of U.S. Highway 12, scheduled by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). The project includes expansion to a four-lane divided highway, and relocating a stretch of the road to the north — right through the flight path of the growers' bees.

The road is a killer...