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Rights-of-way are the lands next to roads, under powerlines, and over pipelines. These long, linear features around energy and transportation infrastructure crisscross our communities and open lands. The 12 million acres of rights-of-way in North America provide a unique opportunity to advance habitat conservation for wildlife such as pollinators, and will be important for the conservation of monarch butterflies in particular. Many rights-of-way managers are interested in adopting more pollinator-friendly management practices on the lands they manage, but don’t know where to promote pollinator habitat and which management practices are best in every situation.
In 2015, the Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group formed as a way for diverse stakeholders to collaborate, share, and identify best management practices for habitat conservation on working landscapes. The Working Group created the Pollinator Scorecard to evaluate pollinator habitat and management practices on rights-of-way and other energy and transportation lands. The User’s Guide provides background information and protocols for using the Pollinator Scorecard and Management Module. Rights-of-way managers can help improve conditions for pollinators by understanding the quality of existing habitat on land that they manage and adopting new management practices to protect or enhance this habitat.
Rights-of-way managers will be important allies to wildlife like pollinators in the years to come. By demonstrating best practices for pollinator habitat management on their rights-of-way, they can serve as models to their neighbors and help educate the communities and land managers adjacent to their rights-of-way in how beautiful pollinator habitat can be. Most importantly, they can directly support pollinators by creating the conditions necessary for pollinators to thrive.