National Grid Undertakes Pollination and Biodiversity Programs
WALTHAM, MA – Some familiar sights and sounds of summer are coming together to help National Grid blossom new ideas. As part of our Responsible Business Charter, National Grid has committed to improving the environmental value of 10% of the land we own by 2030. To accomplish this, National Grid is working with environmental scientists to pilot two new projects that help promote pollination and biodiversity.
The first pilot includes National Grid welcoming nearly 20,000 honeybees to our Northboro facility, while the second pilot in Pawtucket, Rhode Island consists of letting native pollinators thrive on land we would normally need to maintain.
National Grid has a strong history of implementing projects that improve habitats on our properties, but this environmental commitment has enabled our teams to think even more creatively about what those projects could be.
Earlier this year National Grid partnered with local beekeepers at The Best Bees Company to install and maintain two honeybee hives in the grassy area behind our Northboro building. Best Bees will care for our honeybees and collect data on their health for pollinator research. Through our partnership, these bees will provide valuable insight into local pollinator health, along with bolstering the pollinator population.
When asked about the honeybee initiative, National Grid Sustainability Specialist, Eugene Brown, shared, “Over the past few years, bee colonies have been under severe stress, and without the bees our lifestyles would be very different. The project in Northboro is just the beginning, and National Grid has plans for other office locations where we hope to continue expanding this initiative. This is a great example of how National Grid is stepping outside of our core business activities to better our communities and act on our Responsible Business Charter goals.”
Our honeybees, Apis mellifera ligustica, are the most docile species of honeybees, making our hives extremely safe. This project will allow us to contribute to pollinator health and enrich our local habitat.
Alongside our beekeeping initiative, National Grid is also looking to improve our off-road sections of power lines, known as rights-of-way (ROW). Unlike an area where a street pole would be found along the roadside, these areas are normally the off-road green spaces found under power lines. In some locations, the only way to maintain this space is to routinely mow. Through this innovative new study, National Grid is working to measure the benefits of letting this ROW land turn back into a meadow in order to let native pollinators thrive and promote biodiversity.
The study will utilize National Grid’s Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) program and will measure the presence of a native seed bank, beneficial plants, and insect communities. The program encourages the establishment of a low-growing plant community using mechanical, biological, & herbicide treatments.
Utilizing this program, the site in Pawtucket was converted from a grassy area to a 1.6-acre wildflower pollinator habitat.
“With this pollinator project, National Grid is helping to advance the science of biodiversity and organisms that live in the ROW,” said Dr. Anand Persad, the Director of Research, Science, and Innovation with ACRT Services, which is conducting the study for National Grid.
Jon Duval, a Senior Supervisor of Transmission Forestry with National Grid, has worked closely with Dr. Persad on this project. “This is a very unique habitat that exists under power lines and is uncommon in the New England area,” said Duval. “These meadows are few and far between. The more we help to preserve these pollinator areas, the more we help to improve our environment and communities at large.”
National Grid is conducting several pollinator projects on multiple rights-of-way in New England and is presently sampling 222 belt transects in about 15 different areas of our 1,600-mile system. That equates to roughly 60 miles across Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. In certain areas of this right-of-way space, National Grid is working to create and maintain pollinator habitats primarily for monarch butterflies in accordance with our enrollment in the Monarch Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances program.
These projects are great examples of how we seek opportunities to protect biodiversity and enhance the natural value of our properties for the benefit of the environment and our local communities.
About National Grid
About National Grid: National Grid (NYSE: NGG) is an electricity, natural gas, and clean energy delivery company serving more than 20 million people through our networks in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. National Grid is transforming our electricity and natural gas networks with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions to meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
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