The Daily Herald
by Editorial Staff
Atlantic Coast Pipeline announced an initiative to establish new habitats for butterflies, bees and other pollinator insects along the route of the proposed pipeline.
“We’ve identified the most suitable locations by terrain and soil characteristics,” Aaron Ruby, Dominion’s media relations manager, said in a statement released on Thursday, along with a video. “We’re now in the process of introducing the program to landowners in that area.”
In the statement, Dominion says pollinators are essential to the production of many fruits and vegetables. However, pollinator populations, particularly bees and butterflies, have sharply declined in recent years due to the loss of suitable habitat. The Pollinator Habitat Initiative is meant to create hundreds of acres of new pollinator habitat by replanting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline right of way with native grasses and wildflowers that attract the species.
Ruby added the company has seen success with similar projects along electric transmission lines.
The project has identified 750 acres along roughly 50 miles of the proposed pipeline route, with the most suitable locations found in flatter areas in southern Virginia and eastern North Carolina. Dozens of native seed mixes have been developed for the program, including native grasses, such as Little Bluestem, Beaked Panicum, and wildflowers, such as Partridge Pea and Black-Eyed Susan. The program is voluntary and will be implemented with the approval and input of participating landowners.
“Utility corridors offer ideal habitats for all kinds of wildlife, but especially the pollinators that are so essential for food production,” said Pamela Faggert, Dominion’s chief environmental officer and senior vice president, sustainability. “This initiative builds on the more than 43,000 acres of pollinator habitats Dominion Energy has created along our electric transmission and distribution rights of way. We’re excited to build on that progress and continue doing our part to improve our region’s natural environment.”
In developing the program, the project consulted with a number of wildlife experts, including Bob Glennon, a private lands biologist for Virginia Tech’s Conservation Management Institute.
Read the full story in The Daily Herald.