Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources today announced a new initiative that will help improve and strengthen pollinator health and habitat. Approximately 200 acres of BGE's electric rights-of-way (ROW) located in Maryland state parks that are maintained by mowing will be transitioned to meadow or prairie ecosystems which are natural pollinator habitats. "This partnership benefits the state, our customers and, most importantly, the pollinators that are vital for a healthy environment," said Derrick Dickens, vice president of Technical Services for BGE. "Changing the way we manage these electric rights of way will encourage the return of pollinators and native ecosystems, while still ensuring that power lines are safely maintained. The best part is our customers get the environmental benefits as well as the advantages of a more efficient, cost-effective way to manage energy corridors." This effort, which includes electric ROWs in Carroll, Howard, and Baltimore counties, will provide habitat for native pollinators including bees and monarch butterflies. Increasing pollinator habitat is important from both a natural resource and economic perspective, since pollinators are required for the reproduction of food crops. "The new protocol for managing these lands is a significant opportunity for the department to expand upon our ongoing campaign to reduce mowed areas on state-managed land and property," said Nita Settina, superintendent of the Maryland Park Service. "By working with BGE, rights-of-way within five state parks will replace mowed areas with natural meadows that benefit both plant and wildlife species, including birds, bees and butterflies." BGE will maintain its electric ROWs located in state parks through integrated vegetation management (IVM). IVM selectively removes invasive species that could interfere with power lines through the use of environmentally-safe herbicides rather than clear-cut mowing. This allows low-growing, native vegetation to thrive, enhancing food sources and habitat for wildlife. Eliminating the need for mowing also saves money on ROW maintenance.