The South Jersey Transportation Authority is planting 35 acres of native wildflowers at more than 50 locations along the Atlantic City Expressway this year, an increase of about five acres over last year.

More than 20 indigenous species are in the seed mix, said Mark Amorosi, SJTA communications manager, including milkweed, goldenrod and several varieties of aster.

There are also plans to plant an additional five to 10 acres in flowers in the fall, Amorosi said.

The flowers provide nectar for pollinators such as bees and butterflies, which are suffering from habitat loss and pesticide use, said Nick Marchese, SJTA operations project manager. Their root systems also reduce stormwater runoff, remove pollutants and prevent topsoil from eroding into streams and other waterways, he said.

The flower planting is part of the SJTA’s Roadway Environmental Advancement Initiative, which also includes installing birdhouses, bat boxes and osprey platforms within the 1,200 acres of the expressway’s right of way. Birds and bats naturally control insect populations.

“The authority has reduced its dependence on petroleum-based, fossil fuels ... and the wildflowers help ... by removing 35 acres that need to be mowed regularly during the summer — saving time, money and carbon emissions released into the air,” SJTA Executive Director Stephen F. Dougherty said.

The authority got advice from federal and state agencies about which wildflowers to plant, officials said.

Never miss breaking news as it happens! Sign up now to receive alerts delivered to your inbox.

Contact: 609-272-7219 Twitter @MichelleBPost

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

Recommended for you

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.