2020 NAPPC Pollinator Electric Power Award Winner

American Electric Power (AEP)

Study plot at The Dawes Arboretum

AEP is studying the substitution of native vegetation in place of traditional grasses to establish and maintain prairie habitat on typical transmission line upgrades while developing guidance and best management practices. Native prairie grasses and flowers may provide an improved alternate land use option that requires minimal maintenance once established. The native seeding approach can reduce erosion and provide drought-tolerant cover, while significantly improving the ecological value of rights-of-ways. Native seed mixes developed for AEP’s research projects include a variety of plants that attract pollinator species and support wildlife.

In one major research effort, AEP is collaborating with the nonprofit Dawes Arboretum (near Newark, Ohio) to create a biodiverse prairie habitat along a transmission line right-of-way. This approach may be a cost-effective way to fulfill electric utility vegetation management requirements while significantly improving the ecological value of the habitat. Researchers there are documenting rich biodiversity and monitoring habitat quality, erosion control and invasive tree growth. AEP also is involved with other sustainability-oriented pollinator initiatives and right- of-way vegetation management studies.

Tim Lohner and Amy Toohey, AEP environmental specialist consultants, accepted the award on AEP’s behalf at an Oct. 20, 2020, virtual ceremony during NAPPC’s annual conference hosted by the Pollinator Partnership and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.