12 Million ROW Acres for Pollinators

Presidential Memorandum — Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators June 20, 2014

IVM Partners comments to the federal agencies on pollinators as a response to the federal strategy on pollinators that the President signed.


Side by side studies show how mowing increases invasive plant dominance

IVM allows natural germination of milkweed and other pollinator plants

Shrubs maintained and trees targeted with selective herbicide treatment provide dead stems and bare soil for native bee habitat and bird roosting.

“What we lack is old field and native prairie habitat, such as that found in this transmission ROW, which is perhaps the best pollinator habitat in the Mid-Atlantic States.” – Sam Droege, USGS
“IVM allows old field habitat to be maintained with minimal disturbance which provides important nesting sites for birds that have evolved to breed only in early successional habitats. Fire suppression and major changes in agricultural practices have nearly eliminated early successional habitats, but IVM along ROW can help offset this loss” – Rich Mason, USFWS

Electric transmission ROW can be managed as a Wire Zone – Border Zone with selective chemistry treatment under the conductors to develop meadow “prairie” habitat. Selective application techniques are used to retain shrub habitat along the ROW border and in ravines.

Utility-agency partnership to control invasive plants, such as Phragmites and autumn olive

“Bees need flowers for food and to provision for their young and appropriate places to build their nests. ROW provide these resources when they are managed in an integrated way that promotes a healthy mix of shrubs and herbaceous plants” – Kim Russell, NJ Institute of Technology
“Agencies shall evaluate management practices on utility ROW and make changes to enhance pollinator habitat through integrated vegetation best management practices by supplementing existing agreements” – Federal Strategy on Pollinators

Mowing and cutting release greenhouse gases and encourage sprouting of trees and invasive plants, whose live root systems can damage gas pipes

When annual mowing is replaced with IVM, forbs germinate and provide pollinator food

Natural Gas ROW can be managed as a Pipe Zone – Border Zone where cutting or broadleaf herbicides are used to maintain a 10-15 foot access path directly over the pipe routes. The area between pipes and along ROW border is managed for shrubs.

Mowing and hand cutting high desert ROW encouraged tree sprouting from live roots. Selective herbicides removed trees and allowed grass, wildflowers and shrubs to dominate. These cool burning, low plants improve pollinator habitat, decrease erosion, and allow the ROW to serve as a firebreak.