ComEd is enhancing the wildlife habitat of their rights-of-way to benefit pollinator populations in the Midwest
Pollinator populations world-wide are in decline—in large part due to habitat loss. ComEd, an electric utility operating in northern Illinois, has worked with our ecosystem restoration team for many years incorporating native prairies (a type of pollinator habitat) on its transmission rights-of way (ROWs) through their Bees, Butterflies, and Beyond program. In some cases, the remaining vestiges of once larger prairies are now confined to ComEd’s corridor, the adjacent areas replaced by urban development. ComEd’s goal? Conserve and enhance these habitats—and restore additional areas—to benefit pollinators like bumble bees and monarch butterfly.
We’re helping ComEd restore more pollinator habitat through planning, collaboration, and on-the-ground management and monitoring. To start, our team built a predictive geographic information system (GIS) model to prioritize pollinator conservation efforts on ComEd’s ROW. This led to the creation of a list of high potential sites that were then surveyed in the field and then to the addition of new prairies to the program.
On top of that, Stantec helps facilitate ComEd’s conservation partner programs, including community volunteers, adjacent forest preserves, and conservation organizations. When ComEd partnered with the Conservation Foundation and the Mighty Acorn environmental education program to incorporate local elementary-age children into a pollinator habitat restoration, we helped implement a field-based curriculum through nature talks, seedings and plantings, and virtual education.
The restoration and management of ComEd’s pollinator habitats through seeding and invasive species control has been ongoing at some sites for over a decade. Our long-term annual vegetation and pollinator monitoring helps tell the story of ComEd’s conservation efforts.
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