Discovering the best vegetation establishments to create successful pollinator habitats at solar sites
How can we make pollinator habitats at solar sites more successful? It’s a lot more than just planting flowers. We are currently working with Georgia Power and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) at a 4.6-acre solar site along a Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) right-of-way to discover just that.
Beginning in 2019, we prepared a research plan and sampling protocol to evaluate differences in vegetation establishment and pollinator usage between native flowering plots and traditional non-native turf plots. The goal? To detect differences between treatments and evaluate the native species most successful for establishment and providing pollinator habitat.
We coordinated with the utility, Georgia Power, and EPRI to design a habitat and prepare seed mixes consisting of low-growing native flowering plants. Our ecologists collect vegetation and pollinator data six times per year using a stratified random sampling design, with sampling occurring in under and between photovoltaic panels.
Each year, we prepare a research publication in coordination with EPRI, providing adaptive management recommendations to assist with ongoing establishment and maintenance of pollinator habitat.
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