Michigan Pollinator Habitat Planning Scorecard for Solar Sites now available

Here are guidelines for habitat to benefit wild pollinators around solar sites.

pollinator solar site
Photo courtesy of Center for Pollinators in Energy

As solar developments continue to grow across Michigan, there is a great opportunity for these sites to be managed in ways that can also support pollinators. The Michigan State University Department of Entomology has released a Michigan Pollinator Habitat Planning Scorecard for Solar Sites to guide development of these sites to contribute to the statewide efforts towards pollinator conservation in Michigan.

Along with pesticides, pathogens and parasites, habitat loss has been identified as one of the factors that puts pollinators under stress. Loss of habitat reduces the availability of flowering plants that provide nectar and pollen, and for wild bees it reduces the availability of nest sites. Solar sites can occupy large areas of land, and how these are managed can vary widely from short mown grass that provides no resources for bees and other pollinators to abundant flowering plants that support a diverse pollinator community.

If this approach is selected, the scorecard has nine sections that can be used to guide site development with pollinator conservation in mind. These sections range from the very important site preparation issues of weed control to the types of plants selected and how much of the area will be planted. This scorecard can be used during initial project planning to guide the site developer and installer towards practices that will assist with installations that will be more likely to result in the desired outcomes.

Visit Michigan Pollinator Initiative for more information.

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