Habitat in the News

First year of monarch butterfly habitat protection program in Kandiyohi County impacted by drought

West Central Tribune (Willmar, MN)

Jan 4, 2022

While the drought this summer might have had an impact on milkweed growth, Kandiyohi County has marked the completion of its first year in a new monarch butterfly habitat projection program. The goal is to help the state’s butterfly population rebound while also allowing public works projects to move forward with fewer restrictions.

In 2021, the County Board approved the county’s participation in the Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterfly on Energy and Transportation Land conservation program. The agreement, created by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in partnership with the University of Illinois Chicago, has a goal to set aside 465,000 acres of rights of way nationwide as protected monarch butterfly habitat.

Read the rest of this article at the West Central Tribune website.

Protecting pollinators critical to holiday food favorites

La Junta (CO) Tribune-Democrat

December 1, 2021

By now there’s broad awareness of the critical role pollinators play in most of the delicious foods that grace the traditional holiday table — from the mashed potatoes and roasted squash to the pumpkin bread and pecan pie — but researchers are only just scratching the surface in understanding how agricultural land and pollinator habitat can be interwoven together to benefit both.

Continue reading the article on the La Junta Tribune-Democrat website.

Seeds for the future: Collecting project enhances wildlife, pollinator habitat

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

November 23, 2021

Casual visitors at Woolsey Wet Prairie walk mowed trails to admire wildflowers and native plants that flourish there. Volunteers with Project Wingspan wade into the thick of it, up to their elbows in tall grass waving in the breeze.

Their goal is to collect the seeds from native plants for distribution and planting around the region. The seeds will hopefully grow into mature plants that benefit pollinators such as monarch butterflies and bees.

Continue reading this article on the Gazette website.

Bees, sheep, crops: Solar developers tout multiple benefits

Associated Press

November 4, 2021

MONTICELLO, Minnesota (AP) — Silflower was among native plants that blanketed the vast North American prairie until settlers developed farms and cities. Nowadays confined largely to roadsides and ditches, the long-stemmed cousin of the sunflower may be poised for a comeback, thanks to solar energy.

Researchers are growing silflower at nine solar installations in the Minneapolis area, testing its potential as an oilseed crop. The deep-rooted perennial also offers forage for livestock and desperately needed habitat for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Continue reading this article on the Associated Press website.

Senators express concern Brightline train could harm bighorn sheep by fragmenting habitat

Victorville (CA) Daily News

November 14, 2021

When developers of a proposed high-speed train from Los Angeles to Las Vegas talk about their project, one pointthey emphasize is the benefit to the environment.

Representatives of Brightline West have said the electric trains running at speeds of up to 200 mph will cut emissions — 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually — by removing from the road more than 3 million vehicles that would normally travel up Interstate 15 to Sin City every year.

Read the rest of the article on the Victorville Daily News website.

NFWF Announces $1.9 Million in Grants from the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinators Conservation Fund

Yahoo! Finance (November 16, 2021)

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced $1.9 million in grants to conserve monarch butterflies and other insect pollinators in California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The grants will generate $3.2 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of $5.1 million.

Continue reading the article on Yahoo! Finance.


Downtown Lorain pollinator garden planned

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH)

November 13, 2021

Downtown Lorain could become one of northern Ohio’s newest stops for migrating monarch butterflies.

A pollinator garden committee has formed to plant the new flower patch at the corner of Broadway and West Erie Avenue.

Continue reading this article at the Morning Journal website.


How 2 San Luis Obispo County (CA) property owners are restoring their lands for monarch butterflies

(The San Luis Obispo Tribune) November 7, 2021

San Luis Obispo County farmer Lisen Bonnier of Vintage Organics has a stretch of her farmland that has never grown crops well. It floods and has always been generally “problematic,” she said.

Read more here.

Pollinator-friendly Great Barrington (MA) now putting plan into action

The Berkshire Edge (Berkshire County, MA)

November 4, 2021

Since Great Barrington first enacted its pollinator-friendly resolution five years ago, several other towns in western Massachusetts have taken similar measures. “I’d like to think of Great Barrington as a leader in many ways,” said Town Manager Mark Pruhenski.

Read more.


Pollinator-friendly landscape takes root beneath solar panels in Minnesota

(Star Tribune) July 3, 2021

In Minnesota, at least, the solar farms are generating more than electricity. Instead of turf, bare ground or gravel, the land beneath Enel’s Minnesota installations were all seeded with…Read more.

Charging Ahead with Monarch Butterfly Conservation

(T&D World) June 25, 2021

The industry responds to the monarch butterfly listing decision, subsequent legal and political challenges and continued population declines… Read more.

Rights-of-Way Are for the Birds: Managing power line corridors to help wildlife

(Electrical Contractor) June 14, 2021

Utilities have an opportunity to take vegetation management along their power line rights-of-way (ROWs) beyond simple trimming and mowing, by… Read more.

How Do Animals Safely Cross a Highway? Take a Look.

(NY Times) May 31, 2021

The [Wyoming] Department of Transportation joined with the state wildlife agency and nonprofit groups to create a series of crossings, including the one pictured above. Collisions have dropped by… Read more.

Monarch butterfly finds a new friend in Kandiyohi County

(West Central Tribune) March 30, 2021

Kandiyohi County becomes first county in the state to successfully join the Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterfly on Energy and Transportation Land. As a participant in the conservation program, … Read more.

TxDOT registers miles of roadside land to help save monarchs

(Austonia) March 10, 2021

The Texas Department of Transportation is dedicating over a million acres of land, including 73,038 miles of center lanes, to the conservation of the iconic monarch butterfly… Read more.

Do Flowers and Solar Power Mix? UIC Researchers Launching Study Into Costs, Benefits

(WTTW) December 11, 2020

Solar energy might be “green” compared to coal or petroleum, but massive utility-scale solar installations, encompassing thousands of acres of panels, aren’t necessarily eco-friendly… Read more.

Minnesota Co-op Among First to Win Permit to Enter Monarch Conservation Plan

An electric cooperative is among the first businesses to win federal recognition of its monarch butterfly conservation practices… Read more.

PennDOT drives project for Erie area pollinator gardens

(GoErie) September 5, 2020

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation invites the public to plant pollinator gardens in northwestern Pennsylvania… Read more.

‘A magical solution’: Solar developers planting flowers that could help save butterflies and bees

(IndyStar) July 8, 2020

For more than a century Logansport’s electricity was generated using gritty black coal. Now, its latest generating facility will feature 80 acres of solar panels, and something far more attractive — Read more.

Hundreds of Rare Bee Orchids Bloom in ‘Pollinator Town’ Midleton

(Irish Examiner) June 4, 2020

Hundreds of specimens of a striking rare orchid have burst into flower on roadsides in one of Ireland’s first pollinator towns. Environmentalists say they have counted 363 individual bee orchids on verges in Midleton…Read more.

Some Surprisingly Powerful Players Have Joined the Fight to Save the Monarch Butterfly

(WTTW) April 9, 2020

This week, UIC’s Energy Resources Center announced the culmination of a nearly three-year effort to develop a nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) related to the monarch… Read more.

Monarch Butterfly Gets Protection in ‘Historic’ Deal

(E&E News) April 8, 2020

The Fish and Wildlife Service today unveiled a sweeping, multistate plan to protect the monarch butterfly without adding it to the Endangered Species Act list. A long time in the making, the plan called, in part, a “candidate conservation” agreement unites state and federal officials with energy and transportation industry leaders on a common cause….Read more.

The Western Monarch Thanksgiving & New Year’s Counts

(Western Monarch Count) March 2020

Results from the 2019 Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count are now available! The Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count and New Year’s Count are the product of annual monitoring efforts by volunteer community scientists to collect data on the status of monarch populations overwintering along the California coast (and a few sites from inland areas). Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of these volunteers, we have over 20 years of data demonstrating… Read more. 

Miles of Lines, Miles of Monarch Habitat

(T & D World) January 14, 2020

There is a new and urgent focus among electric and gas utilities to reconsider their land management practices in light of declining insect populations worldwide. This includes the iconic orange-and-black monarch butterfly, which may be listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as soon as next year… Read more

Enhancing Seed Mixes With Wildflowers

(IECA Environmental Connection) Oct/Nov 2019

When planning your erosion control projects, keep in mind that seed mixes can be enhanced with wildflowers that are vital to domesticated and wild pollinators. Many erosion control projects are…Read more.

New England power line corridors harbor rare bees and other wild things

(The Conversation) October 3, 2019

Ecologically, the swaths of open, scrubby landscapes under transmission lines support a rich and complex menagerie of life, absent in the… Read more

Tennessee Makes Way for the Monarchs

(The New York Times) September 16, 2019

NASHVILLE — A few years ago I started noticing wildflowers blooming beside the highway: ironweed and goldenrod and snakeroot and black-eyed Susan. The first time it happened the sun was in my eyes as I drove west toward…Read more.

PPL’s Talking About the Birds and the Bees, and How it’s Trying to Get Back to Nature

(The Morning Call) September 02, 2019 

Nature seems to take its course in the vibrant hues and quiet activities at a patch of earth between Route 309 and the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This is PPL Electric Utilities’ test garden at its Walbert Conference Center in South Whitehall Township, a project first seeded in 2017 that’s now bearing flowers and bringing birds, bees and other wildlife to areas beneath giant transmission towers and wires… Read More.

Solar prairie blooms into a ‘living laboratory’

(University of Dayton) August 8, 2019

In less than two years, the University of Dayton has transformed the front lawn of Daniel J. Curran Place into a “living laboratory” dedicated to sustainability. A solar array was installed in 2018 and… Read more.

The Impact is Tremendous: Readers on Wildflower Verges

(The Guardian) July 18, 2019

Catastrophic news for insect life has inspired communities and councils around the UK to take action, generating splashes of summer colour which hope to have a lasting impact. Below, readers share some of their local successes, including thoughts about how leaving nature to run its course by standing back rather than taking action can help – and explain how they have been getting involved in community projects big and small. Read more.

Miles of Lines, Miles of Monarch Habitat

(T & D World) June 2019

There is a new and urgent focus among electric and gas utilities to reconsider their land management practices in light of declining insect populations worldwide. This includes the iconic orange-and-black monarch butterfly, which may be listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as soon as next year. Read more

City staff buzzing about endangered bee discovery as boulevard preps for another season

(CBC) April 22, 2019

A partnership between the City of Calgary, loads of nature-loving students and select universities is blooming into something exciting. A so-called bee boulevard was created a couple of years ago on Canyon Meadows Drive, and this winter researchers identified an endangered pollinator frequenting the blooms. Read More

Delaware highway project leads to 43-acre bee-supporting meadow

(WHYY) April 09, 2019

When Route 301 was built, the Delaware Department of Transportation was required to offset some of the land it paved over with property left in a natural state. It spurred planting 250,000 tree saplings along the new 14-mile highway in Southern New Castle County but also gave birth to a 43-acre wildflower meadow. The first-of-its-kind offset project seeks to fulfill DelDOT’s environmental requirements while at the same time supporting bees, butterflies and other wildlife. Read More

How can the power industry help the monarch butterfly?

(EPRI  Journal) April 4, 2019

Study identified 10.7 million acres in transmission rights-of-way as potential monarch habitat—about 8.5% of the total needed for monarch restoration and a potentially meaningful contribution. Tim Lohner, PhD consulting environmental specialist at American Electric Power (AEP), estimated conservatively that utility conservation efforts on these land corridors could yield enough milkweed for more than 12 million monarchs, or about 5% of a fully recovered population. Read More

Beneath Solar Panels, the Seeds of Opportunity Sprout

(NREL Transforming Energy) April 2, 2019

Low-Impact Development of Solar Installations Could Be Win-Win-Win for Food, Water, and Renewable Energy

On a humid, overcast day in central Minnesota, a dozen researchers crouch in the grass between rows of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. Only their bright yellow hard hats are clearly visible above the tall, nearly overgrown prarie grasses—which are growing exactly as expected…Read more

ATC Awards Funds to Communities for Planting Projects

(T & D World) February 08, 2019

American Transmission Co. has awarded collectively $58,600 to 27 recipients across its service area to plant trees and low-growing vegetation through two programs – the Community Planting and Pollinator Planting programs. Now in its sixth year, ATC has given more than 200 community awards for these projects totaling nearly $360,000. Read More

Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies

(Scientific American) January 18, 2019

A trend of planting wildflowers on solar sites could maintain habitat for disappearing bees and butterflies. Read More

In bid to help bees, Xcel to require vegetation disclosure in solar RFPs

(Utility Dive) October 12, 2018

Xcel Energy Minnesota will be the first utility in the U.S. to require disclosure of what type of vegetation will be planted with solar sites in all its future request for proposals. Read More

Roadside Refuge: ODOT Works to Protect Ohio’s Pollinators

(Monarch Joint Venture) September 17, 2018

If you’ve driven along Ohio’s roadsides lately, you may have noticed something’s different. Less of the roadside is being mowed, and milkweed and other native wildflowers are flourishing in those areas.  Read More

Rehabilitating Bee and Butterfly Populations by Allowing Them to Live at Solar Energy Facilities

(PV Buzz) August 21, 2018

By studying solar energy facilities with pollinator habitats on site, researchers hope to rehabilitate pollinator populations that play a crucial role in the national and global agricultural industries. Read More

Got Milkweed? Pollinator Week Is a Time to Shine for Co-op Preservation Efforts

(America’s Electric Cooperatives) June 18, 2018

Electric cooperatives with territories that overlap critical monarch breeding areas and migration routes are devoting land and labor to reverse the decline of monarch butterfly and other key pollinator species. Read More

UIC-led partnership aims to help create, preserve monarch habitat

(UIC Today) June 19, 2018

A new, multi-sector partnership coordinated by the Energy Resources Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago is working together to develop a voluntary conservation agreement to aid the plight of the monarch butterfly. Read More

Creating Pollinator Habitats Along Pipeline Rights-of-Way Helps the Bottomline

(North American Oil & Gas Pipelines) 

Millions of acres of pipeline right-of-way crisscross all types of ecosystems. Maintaining vegetation along this land is a constant challenge and takes time and operating budget. Read More

IDOT cut down on spring mowing to help Illinois pollinator population

(News Tribune) June 12, 2018
SPRINGFIELD — As concerns for declining pollinator species continue to buzz throughout the country, Illinois Department of Transportation is reminding the public of a change in mowing operations designed to encourage the growth of pollinator species along state roadsides. Read More

Saving Monarch Butterflies

(WTMJ-TV) May 17, 2018
See how the American Transmission Company is trying to help create a monarch migration corridor and you can help! Read More

Illinois Reduces Mowing to Spur Habitat

(Quad City Times) September 17, 2017
In a world where loss of habitat is causing a corresponding loss of life, the large amount of state- or government-controlled land along roadways, when taken together, represents a great opportunity to rebuild habitat. See how integrated vegetation management can help. Read More

NAPPC Presents The 2017 Pollinator Roadside Management Award

(Pollinator Partnership) September 12, 2017

The 2017 North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) Pollinator Roadside Management Award was presented today at the National Roadside Vegetation Management Association’s annual conference in Springfield, Missouri. NAPPC is administered by the Pollinator Partnership (P2); and P2’s Director of Public Affairs, Tom Van Arsdall, was present to acknowledge the awardees. Read More

First Ohio Rest Area for Pollinators and People Now Open!

(Monarch Joint Venture) August 29, 2017

It’s official! The state of Ohio’s first combined travel center and pollinator garden has been opened. This pollinator garden, at the rest area on I-75 south near Bowling Green, will serve as a prototype for Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) planting projects at six other rest areas. Read More


Illinois Habitat Highway: A New Partnership for Wildlife Habitat Conservation

(Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever) August 2, 2017

Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) have forged a new partnership to manage for pollinator habitat and critical wildlife corridors throughout the state. Read More

National Pollinator Week Kicks off new Monarch Highway Logo

(Winona Daily News) June 16, 2017

As part of the ongoing effort to raise awareness of pollinator habitat and preservation, the Monarch Highway is proud to launch its new logo during National Pollinator Week, June 18-25. Read More

Catch The Buzz – Resolution Designates Interstate 76 As Colorado’s First “Pollinator Highway”

(Bee Culture) May 27, 2017

Colorado became friendlier to pollinators this week by passing the “Colorado Pollinator Highway” Resolution HJR 1029. The Resolution sponsored by Representative KC Becker and Senator Jerry Sonnenberg passed both the House and Senate unanimously and designates Interstate 76 from the Nebraska state line to Arvada, Colorado. Read More

Highways Could Help Bear and Butterflies

(Scientific American) May 19, 2017

Late last August, armed with a sweep net and identification guides, Sarah Piecuch was looking for butterflies. She trudged through waist-deep grasses, trying to keep her footing steady while tallying those she found fluttering through the sky or perched on nearby flowers. Read More

New Jersey Greens Its Highways With Native Plants – and Your State Can, Too

(Audubon) May 18, 2017

New Jersey may be dubbed the Garden State, but for many out-of-towners, it’s better known as a state full of asphalt and headaches, with its snarled parkways, smoggy turnpikes, and wallet-draining interstates. Read More

New IDOT Mowing Approach to Help Protect Monarch Butterfly, Pollinator Populations in Illinois

(Illinois Department of Transportation) May 15, 2017

To help revive the shrinking populations of the monarch butterfly and other pollinators, the Illinois Department of Transportation is adjusting its mowing routine along state highways this spring and summer… Read More

Energy group seeks best practices for restoring pollinator habitats

(Midwest Energy News) May 5, 2017
A growing alliance of industry groups, environmentalists and government agencies are increasingly convinced that habitat restoration in rights-of-way corridors — including for electric transmission lines — could be key to propping up the region’s decimated pollinator population… Read More

A Step Back in Time: 45 Years Ago a “New” Study of Roadside Vegetation Control Was Just Kicking Off

In 1971 the Des Moines Register featured this article on a study at Cornell College (believed to be first of its kind) that looked at establishing native prairie plants along roadsides. Think how far we’ve come! Read More

Governor Mark Dayton Issues Executive Order to Reverse Pollinator Decline and Restore Pollinator Health in Minnesota

(State of Minnesota) August 26, 2016

Governor Mark Dayton today issued Executive Order 16-07, requiring the state to take specific actions to reverse the decline of bees and other pollinator populations… Read More

State Wildlife and Transportation Agencies Work Together to Save Pollinating Species

(Massachusetts Energy & Environmental Affairs) August 24, 2016

State wildlife and transportation officials gathered today at the Route 3, Exit 5 Rest Area in Plymouth to announce a $21,500 grant from the US Fish & Wildlife Service… Read More

Fly Away! Six States and FHWA Will Collaborate to Enhance Pollinator Habitat along New Monarch Highway

(AASHTO News) May 26, 2016

Six state departments of transportation and the Federal Highway Administration signed a memorandum of agreement that will improve pollinator habitat along Interstate 35… Read More

Utilities Take Action on Habitat Restoration

(Electric Perspectives) April 2016

Electricity is the driving force of our modern world. It powers commerce and industry, enables critical advances in science and health care, and contributes … Read More


Just adding pollinators could boost small-farm yields

(Science News) January 21, 2016

Just sending more pollinators into action on small farms around the world could significantly boost crop yields, says a massive new study…

Read More

Saving monarch butterflies gets boost from milkweed planted in Chicago area

(Chicago Tribune) June 19, 2015

Eight-year-old Allison Penley can count on one hand the number of times she’s seen a monarch butterfly on a flower in her backyard: Two.. Read More


Electric Power Rights of Way: A New Frontier for Conservation

(Yale Environment 360) October 16, 2014

This article looks at how Power lines may allow smaller declining vegetation and wildlife to grow alongside the power lines through low growth vegetation. With the sharp decline in pollinators this seems like a viable solution. Read More