Even though snow is still on the ground, spring was in the air as a group from Xcel Energy gathered at the King Plant in Bayport, Minnesota, to celebrate the company’s initiative to help pollinator habitats.
Working through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Friends of the St. Croix Wetland Management District recognized the company for its work in helping pollinators. The group presented a plaque reading in part, “The support we receive from organizations like yours is critical to our success, and we wish to express our gratitude for your partnership in supporting our conservation program and efforts.”
Those in the group photo include Randy Capra, Xcel Energy; Brad Weidenfeller, Xcel Energy; Chris Berglund, Xcel Energy; Mike Reiter, Friends of the St. Croix Wetland Management District; Buck Malick, Friends of the St. Croix Wetland Management District; Pam Rasmussen, Xcel Energy; Ramsey James, Xcel Energy; Bridget Olson, US Fish & Wildlife Service; Colette Jurek, Xcel Energy; Caitlin Smith, US Fish & Wildlife Service; Brian Elwood, Xcel Energy.
“It is so great to see the excitement from co-workers on this initiative,” said Pam Rasmussen, senior manager, Siting and Land Rights. “I want to thank employees at the King Plant for taking part in helping to restore this habitat and recognize everyone who helps to make this initiative a success.”
In 2015, Xcel Energy signed the “Pollinator Pledge” committing at least 50 acres in the St. Croix Valley area to pollinator-friendly habitat. The company is currently transforming about 15 acres back to native prairie around the King Plant. In the fall of 2017, crews removed the buckthorn and non-native trees and shrubs on a remnant prairie site just south of the plant along the St. Croix River. This spring, crews will follow up with treatment on the invasive plants, and in the early fall, assess the success of the native plants revegetating the site.
“This past year has been a great success for pollinator conservation thanks to dedicated partners like Xcel Energy,” said Caitlin Smith, private lands biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We sincerely appreciate your commitment and efforts toward this common goal of working together to establish more pollinator habitat on the landscape.”
Xcel Energy has been proactive in creating and restoring lands that benefit pollinators and increase prairie habitat. Xcel Energy currently has more than 1,100 acres of active pollinator habitat and more than 200 acres in development in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The projects include nearly 25 active and potential pollinator habitat sites on our properties and in partnership with other groups. New plantings are scheduled to take place this spring and fall at several locations. This will benefit a variety of pollinators, including the federally endangered rusty patch bumblebee and everyone’s favorite, the Monarch butterfly.
Learn more about Xcel Energy pollinator projects.