2023 NAPPC Pollinator Electric Power Award Winner

Bonneville Power Administration

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) owns and maintains several miles of high-voltage transmission lines that pass through the heart of Forest Park, a 5,200 acre park in Portland, Oregon. BPA and Portland General Electric (PGE) maintain the vegetation along these rights-of-way (ROWs) according to agency and company requirements for safety and access, and in partnership and cooperation with Portland Parks and Recreation (PP&R). These ROWs provide some of the only open habitat in the park and provide important foraging resources and habitat connectivity for pollinators. To improve the ecosystem function of BPA ROWs, BPA partnered with METRO (a regional governance agency) and Portland Parks and Recreation on a restoration project to specifically improve pollinator habitat within several sections of its ROW. Project goals include the following: collaborating with local partners to determine whether and how habitat improvement strategies could be implemented in transmission line ROWs, evaluating the benefits of habitat improvements through monitoring, and developing a strategy for future work. In fall 2019, three “showcase spots” of about 800 sq. ft. each were installed in the project area by PP&R to generate interest and excitement in park visitors, and to highlight the beauty of Oregon’s prairie wildflowers that can provide pollinator and other wildlife habitat in a home garden. The locations were chosen specifically for their close proximity to trails and points of access where visitor interaction would be guaranteed. A monitoring project conducted with the Xerces Society found that pollinators are responding well to the project. A growing gap was observed between the pollinator communities supported in the BPA ROWs compared to the status quo Portland General Electric ROWs, considering natural variation in annual pollinator abundance. Significantly, the pollinator community in the BPA ROWs showed a response to restoration by increasing the proportion of native plants they visited through time. There was also some evidence that the BPA ROW was able to support more butterflies and higher butterfly richness than the PGE ROW. These findings will allow Portland General Electric to evaluate maintenance needs and methods (in partnership with BPA), and determine if additional seeding or other planting is needed to maintain the goals of the project.

Pavilion Path Before and After