This week, June 22-28, has been declared National Pollinator Week, a time set aside to celebrate pollinators for the valuable role they play in ecosystems and spread the word about what people can do to protect them.
Southern Company is proud to support pollinators through research and conservation not just this week but throughout the year.
One way we are doing this is conducting research on how we can better use the lands on which we generate and move energy to help pollinators. Southern Company, Alabama Power, Auburn University and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) are collaborating on a project evaluating the value of utility rights-of-way (ROWs) as habitat for pollinating insects.
Utilities use integrated vegetation management to mow rights-of-way and remove tree sprouts and other woody vegetation that can damage powerlines. As a result, ROWs can mimic natural grasslands. If properly managed, ROWs can serve as “surrogate” habitats for grasses and flowering plants that pollinators seek out.
“Through this multi-year project, Southern Company will measure pollinator response to different vegetation management techniques to identify practices that promote native plants and encourage pollinator conservation,” said Claire Ike, Southern Company’s lead on the research and a senior environmental specialist.
Preliminary results show both pollinating insects and pollinator friendly vegetation are present within our ROWs and commonly used vegetation management techniques create and preserve pollinator habitats and ecosystems. In 2019, researchers found 58 bee species and 86 flowering plants on rights-of-way.
Through research like this, Southern Company demonstrates total commitment to conservation.
“This research is one example of the commitment of Southern Company and our subsidiaries to natural resource conservation in the communities we are privileged to serve and also call home,” Ike said.