Rights-of-way include the roadsides, electric and gas transmission and distribution lines, and rail corridors that intersect our cities, crisscross the countryside, and connect the world around us! They can also create pathways and havens for wildlife. As habitat resources around the world continue to diminish with increasing land development and intensifying land management practices, rights-of-way often contain greater plant diversity compared to adjacent or surrounding landscapes. In this way, rights-of-way can help to provide the food and shelter that so many of our beloved birds, butterflies, and other wildlife so desperately need.
A number of recent federal and state conservation strategies for pollinators, including the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators released by the White House’s Pollinator Health Task Force in May 2015, identify utility and transportation rights-of-way as key to the success of widespread pollinator habitat development.
Rights-of-way offer a unique opportunity to advance habitat conservation by creating a broad network of linear tracts that intersect a variety of landscapes, connect remnant habitats to other favorable environments, and are generally safe from major disturbances or future development.
The ERC facilitates the Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group to provide a forum to collaborate, share ideas, and identify best practices for habitat conservation on rights-of-way and other working landscapes. For more information, check out this one-page summary.
Find out more information about our current projects:
- Rights-of-Way as Habitat Database to map habitat areas managed by working group partners
- Monarch Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances to encourage voluntary conservation action in the energy and transportation sectors. More information can be found at this FAQ.
SAVE THE DATE
The seventh meeting of the Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group, hosted by the Energy Resources Center at the University of Illinois-Chicago, is scheduled for October 25, 2018. Pre- and post-meetings will occur on October 24 and 26. Please visit the event page linked for more details.