Edge habitats along roads and power lines may be key to conserving rare plants


February 1, 2024

Managing forest edge habitats to maintain a gradient of canopy cover and plant density could be key to conserving some threatened native plant species such as wild lupine, according to Penn State researchers.

Edge habitats created by natural or human-caused disturbances, including corridors along roadways and utility rights-of-way, provide prime opportunities for encouraging the establishment and reproduction of rare native plants, the researchers reported in a new study published in Plant Ecology.

Read the rest of the article at Phys.org.

States give pollinators pit stops in rights-of-way

Bay Journal (Mayo, MD)

November 21, 2023

Here’s an item to add to your bingo card for long car drives: “no-mow” signs.

More highways and byways across the region are posting them next to strips of land — in medians, at intersections and along shoulders and curbs — as part of reduced mowing practices being integrated into their culture.

Mowing less frequently or avoiding it all together during certain times of year helps to leave habitat for native and pollinator-friendly plants, such as milkweed, when migrating monarchs and other wildlife need them most. Less mowing also means less pollution from gas-powered mowers, and there are financial incentives, too. 

Read more.


St. Louis County (MN) joins Monarch CCAA

(St. Louis) County joins national monarch protection agreement

October 4, 2023

The Timberjay (Northern St. Louis County, MN)

In a win-win Tuesday for monarch butterflies and St. Louis County, the board of commissioners approved an agreement that will provide more butterfly habitat along the county’s roadways while protecting future county operations should the monarch be designated as endangered.

Read more on the Timberjay website.

Roadside Initiatives Helping to Counter Biodiversity Loss

December 15, 2022

With 8 billion people now sharing our globe, the demands on land and water have never been greater. Biodiversity loss is a growing concern worldwide as highlighted by the recent global conferences on climate change (COP27) and biodiversity (COP15). In connection, the habitats and species, including at-risk insect pollinators, that make up biodiversity are an increasing focus of land management.

In June this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced the establishment of a new Center for Pollinator Conservation. This announcement signaled the continuing importance that pollinators have across the nation. Pollinators are facing severe declines in population around the world, including throughout North America with bee populations decline being the most notable. Since 2017, the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) has been listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and there are several other bumble bees that are either petitioned for federal listing consideration or undergoing status assessments for possible future listings.

Read the rest of the article here.


Some see dead space on the side of the road. These groups see a potential haven for wildlife.

CNN (Cambridge, UK)

November 14, 2022

This roundabout would have been easily overlooked just a few months ago – wedged between busy traffic lanes, there wasn’t much growing apart from bog-standard grass. But local residents who drove past every day thought it had potential.

Now, it’s been transformed into a wildflower meadow, buzzing with insect life and blooming with color.

Reinvigorating those grassy edges of streets and highways – often called road verges or medians – is the bread and butter of local conservation group On The Verge Cambridge, which stepped in to help re-wild the traffic circle as they work toward boosting biodiversity in the local area through planting.

Read the rest of the article here.

Here’s how conservation experts are hoping to increase Iowa’s monarch butterfly population

WOI-DT/WeAreIowa.com (Ames, IA)

October 26, 2022

Iowa has been steadily adding new habitat for monarch butterflies over the past couple of years.

The Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium recently released a report, highlighting the progress of monarch habitat establishment in all 99 counties.

So far, they are well on their way to meeting their goal.

“The decline is really associated with the loss of milkweed in the Midwest,” said Dr. Kelsey Fisher with Iowa State University.

Read the rest of the article at WeAreIowa.com.

Middle Tennessee Electric, Tennessee Environmental Council breaking ground on pollinator habitat

WGNS Radio (Murfreesboro, TN)

Nov. 10, 2022

Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE) and Tennessee Environmental Council (TEC) are partnering to establish a one-acre native pollinator habitat at MTE’s solar field in College Grove. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held Monday, Nov. 14, at noon.

MTE commissioned its 1-megawatt solar field in College Grove, TN in November of 2016. It allows MTE members to participate in renewable energy programs without the expense and effort needed to build their own solar PV systems.

Read the rest of the article at wgnsradio.com.

U.S. Department of Energy Invests $14 Million to Enhance Environmental and Wildlife Benefits from Solar Energy Infrastructure

United States Department of Energy

October 17, 2022

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $14 million in funding to researchers to study how solar energy infrastructure interacts with wildlife and ecosystems. These projects are part of DOE’s nearly $100 million renewable power research portfolio that invests in innovative, cost-effective solutions to minimize wildlife impacts—and maximize the environmental benefits—of renewable energy technologies. As renewable energy deployment grows to combat the climate crisis and achieve President Biden’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, DOE is supporting research to ensure renewable energy deployment also benefits native wildlife and ecosystems.

“DOE is committed to ensuring that renewable energy deployment protects natural environments,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “This first-ever DOE investment in tools to better understand how solar energy infrastructure interacts with native wildlife and the environment will help increase adoption of ecosystem-friendly clean energy deployment.”

Read the rest of the press release at the DoE website.

Buzzing Around Solar: Pollinator Habitat Under Solar Arrays

Buzzing Around Solar: Pollinator Habitat Under Solar Arrays

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO)

June 21, 2022

Pollinators—such as bees, butterflies, and other insects—are critical to the success of about 35 percent of global food crop production. In order to thrive, pollinators must have a suitable habitat. Establishing pollinator-friendly plants under and around ground-mounted solar arrays has the potential to provide this critical habitat and benefit both the pollinators and nearby agriculture. But a number of important questions remain about the impacts of pollinator-friendly solar and how to implement it at a large scale.

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) is working to better understand the economic, ecological, and performance impacts of co-locating pollinator habitat and solar arrays. This research is part of our broader agrivoltaics research, which studies how solar and agriculture can co-locate.

Read the rest of the article at the SETO website.

Missoula (MT) pollinator conservation plan to protect, promote forage for bees, butterflies

KPAX.COM (Missoula, MT)

August 22, 2022

With urban turf and ornamental landscapes among the fastest growing ecosystems on the planet, a new effort funded by the Lolo National Forest and spearheaded by Missoula County will turn an eye to the needs of the region’s native pollinators.

A $25,000 grant from the Forest Service to the local Weed District will support the planning and eventual launch of a new Missoula County Pollinator Conservation plan. The goal is to identify the region’s native pollinators and improve the habitat they rely upon – and do so in the easiest of places.

Read the rest of the article at the KPAX website.