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/ (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.

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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.

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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.

Monarch butterflies are in trouble. WE Energies aims to help.

WE Energies

Press Release

August 16, 2022

We Energies and its parent company, WEC Energy Group, are joining a new nationwide effort to help restore and increase the monarch butterfly population. The companies are among the first in Wisconsin’s utility industry to take part in this important initiative.

The monarch butterfly population has shrunk by 80% in the eastern United States since the 1990s due to the loss of habitat and food sources. As a result, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is considering listing the monarch butterfly as threatened or endangered by 2024. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) added the migratory monarch butterfly to its Red List earlier this summer, stating the species is threatened with extinction.

We Energies is part of a WEC Energy Group effort that has committed to conserving and restoring monarch butterfly habitat on nearly 500 acres of its properties. New and expanded habitats will be maintained across the state, including land near the power plants at the Oak Creek/Elm Road campus and several hydroelectric facilities.

“This is another step in our commitment to serve our communities and build a bright, sustainable future,” said Scott Lauber, president — We Energies. “This dedicated effort to preserve, restore and manage habitats will play a vital role in the survival of monarch butterflies, improving biodiversity on a landscape scale, and the success of our ecosystem for decades to come.“

We Energies’ efforts are part of the Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterflies. This national program is being led by the USFWS and University of Illinois Chicago to encourage transportation and energy partners to participate in monarch butterfly conservation.

Read the original press release on the We Energies website.

KCS, CP, GATX, Rotary, NASCO Team for a ‘Butterfly Effect’

Railway Age

August 3, 2022

Here’s something probably not too many rail industry people know: The migration path of the Monarch Butterfly, recently declared an endangered species, closely follows the alignment of the combined north-south Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern networks, which (pending merger approval by the Surface Transportation Board) will in early 2023 merge to form CPKC (Canadian Pacific Kansas City), North America’s first transnational freight railroad.

Thus, the Monarch Butterfly “represents North American unity,” say CP, KCS, GATX, the Monterrey (Mexico) Metropolitan Rotary Club and NASCO (North American Supply Chain Organization), which have launched the Save the Monarch Butterfly 60,000 Tree Challenge North American Boxcar Tour to raise $100,000. The funds raised will be used to plant 60,000 Oyamel fir trees at El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Michoacán, Mexico to help reestablish the monarch population.

Read the rest of the article at the Railway Age website.

Conservation survey finds native New York State pollinators at risk

Cornell Chronicle (Cornell University, Ithaca, NY)

August 8, 2022

A New York state survey, supported by Cornell bee experts, finds that more than half of important native pollinators may be at risk of disappearing from the state – potentially threatening crops, wildflowers and insect diversity.

The three-year Empire State Native Pollinator Survey, released Aug. 4 by the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), found that at least 38% – and as many as 60% – of the pollinators targeted by the survey are at risk because they are rare or declining. For bees, up to 24% of the species may be at risk and an additional 11% are considered possibly extirpated, or known only from historical records. The survey is among the most systematic conservation status assessments of pollinators conducted by any state, according to its authors.

Read the rest of the article at the Cornell Chronicle website.