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New Pollinator Habitat Creates a Buzz in Monticello

Seven acres of new plants will help attract pollinators

By: | July 8, 2016 2:28 pm

Butterflies and bees have a new home in the making in Monticello, Minn. Children from the Monticello Community Center and local leaders gathered June 30 to commemorate seven acres of new pollinator friendly habitat we planted around our new substation in the city. The group also assisted by getting dirty and planting seedlings to put the final touches on the site (view video).

“The relationship between Xcel Energy and Monticello has been growing for decades,” said Brian Stumpf, Monticello Mayor. “We are pleased this new substation will bring improved power reliability to our residents and adjacent land is being used to help the environment at the same time.”

“We are thrilled to be working together with such great partners on this project. It’s an opportunity for Xcel Energy to be a utility leader in the pollinator effort and provide a model for other companies across the country,” said Laura McCarten, vice president for state affairs, Xcel Energy Minnesota. “It just makes sense. There’s a lot of national focus on using utility rights-of-way for restoring the monarch and overall pollinator habitats. The initiative can even save money because it costs less to maintain the native plant species that attract pollinators.”

“Planting diverse wildflowers and protecting them from insecticides is one of the best ways we can help bees and butterflies,” said Jim Eckberg, plant ecologist with the Xerces Society. “These events grow awareness and enthusiasm for pollinator conservation in our community.”

The Monarch Migration Corridor between Minnesota and Texas coincides with our service territory.

Xcel Energy has been working with various groups to manage prairie habitat for over 25 years from protecting native prairie near power lines in Eau Claire, Wis. to creating seven acres of native prairie around the High Bridge Generating Station in St. Paul (view map of pollinator sites). In 2015, we began to make the commitment more formal and signed the Pollinator Pledge, committing at least 50 acres in the St. Croix River Valley to pollinator-friendly habitats. The Pollinator Pledge is an initiative launched by the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service. In addition, in 2015 crews planted native pollinator plants along a new CapX2020 transmission line right-of-way corridor at a Boy Scout Camp near Town of Holland, Wis.

To learn more about the Xcel Energy Pollinator Initiative you can view the project website.

Also check out some of the video from the event.

Pollinator Blog collage

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