AEP Ohio is teaming with state and federal wildlife experts in a pilot project aimed at making Ohio a more hospitable habitat for pollinators.
A pollinator is an animal that causes plants to make fruit or seeds. Pollinators need a particular type of habitat to survive. The quality and number of pollinator habitats in Ohio, regionally and worldwide have been in decline. The reasons for decline are many: economic development, genetically modified agricultural plants, increased use of pesticides, etc.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service created the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative. They invited AEP Ohio to participate at two locations along AEP right-of-way: parts of Dawes Arboretum and the Pleasant Valley Wildlife area. These pilots sites are located near Heath and Chillicothe, respectively.
Environmentalists and biologists believe utility and road rights-of-way are a prime location to create healthy pollinator habitats. Right-of-way areas border farm fields and wooded areas, creating an optimal location for planting wildflowers and milkweed, attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
ODNR and USFW are assisting AEP Ohio in maintaining the pollinator habitat because the new pollinator habitats require regular maintenance and mowing in the beginning.
“AEP Ohio is participating in this pilot program to create and/or improve pollinator habitat in Ohio and to increase and/or improve pollinator conservation awareness for all Ohioans,” said Amy Toohey, environmental specialist. “This program is consistent with AEP Ohio’s commitment to be a good steward of the environment.”