FirstEnergy On Pace to Exceed Pollinator Habitat Development GoalThrough pilot program, company is working to create 225 pollinator-friendly acres by 2025
AKRON, Ohio, June 17, 2022 -- FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) is on track to exceed its goal of developing 225 acres of pollinator habitat across its service territory by 2025, including the creation of new habitat in transmission right of ways, at its utility substation properties and at parks and nature preserves. After beginning with a pilot program in 2020, the company has expanded the initiative within its service territory and is on pace to reach nearly 190 pollinator-friendly acres by the end of third quarter in 2022.
Insects and small animals that pollinate plants, such as birds, bats, bees, butterflies and beetles, help to sustain ecosystems. By helping plants reproduce, they play a vital role in producing natural resources such as fruits and vegetables, preventing soil erosion and increasing carbon sequestration.
Many pollinator populations are in decline due to a loss in feeding and nesting habitats, according to Pollinator Partnership, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems. The organization initiated and manages Pollinator Week, an annual celebration in support of pollinator health that runs from June 20-26 this year.
In early 2020, FirstEnergy's transmission vegetation management group established a pilot program to find opportunities to restore work areas following transmission construction projects with flowering vegetation to develop a pollinator-friendly habitat. The company worked with a horticulturist in Meadville, Pennsylvania, to develop two seed mixes with more than 20 flowering species which are native throughout the six states in which FirstEnergy operates. One of the mixes contains added grasses that will help it take root along steep slopes, and both mixes can be used across the company's service territory.
FirstEnergy's 2022 plans include the development of 90 pollinator-friendly acres by the end of the third quarter. In April, the company seeded 28 acres at a substation property in Potomac Edison's service territory in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, and in May the company seeded an additional 25 acres at a new transmission substation and line in Trumbull County, Ohio, as well as 14 acres at a substation in southwestern Pennsylvania. The company is also conducting follow-up site inspections and examining best practices for pollinator cultivation after seeding, including invasive species prevention and strategic mowing to promote native pollinator species.
"Environmental stewardship is a key part of our company's mission, and with this initiative, we are taking steps to increase biodiversity through the responsible replacement of vegetation and supporting the creation of pollinator habitats across our service territory," said Michael Haines, supervisor of transmission construction vegetation management, who is managing the program.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com and on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp.
Editor's Note: Photos of pollinator habitat developed by FirstEnergy are available for download on Flickr
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