NYSEG and RG&E Preserve and Improve Butterfly Habitats Across Upstate New York

Companies collaborate with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on conservation efforts

Monarch butterflies are pollinators; vital to ecosystem


BINGHAMTON, NY — May 4, 2023 — New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E), subsidiaries of AVANGRID, have enrolled in the Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA), a voluntary conservation program sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to address the needs of at-risk species before they become endangered. The Companies have committed to preserving habitat for monarch butterflies in 18 percent of their above-ground rights-of-way acres across New York State, through measures like mowing brush to promote nectar plants and milkweed.

“We have joined with 40 other organizations from the energy and transportation sectors to create conservation benefits for monarch butterflies and other pollinators, because the population of this important species requires an ‘all hands on deck,’ approach if it’s to recover,” said Michael Craven, vice president of Electric Operations for NYSEG and RG&E. “AVANGRID promotes a brighter energy future by engaging in clean energy strategies that provide safe, reliable service to our customers while safeguarding our environment.” 

As part of the CCAA, the Companies promote milkweed and nectar flora within its rights-of-way, use selective herbicide treatments on unwanted vegetation, and schedule certain acres to be left alone within their maintenance cycles to allow for habitat growth. Rights-of-way are corridors that utilities have a legal right to access and use to provide service. 

Pollinators—such as bees, butterflies, and other insects—are critical to the success of about 35 percent of global food crop production. They must have a suitable habitat in order to thrive. Establishing pollinator-friendly plants, like milkweed, is one part of creating such suitable habitats for these important species. 

Rights-of-way connect NYSEG and RG&E customers to the energy sources that power their world, but they also create pathways and havens for wildlife. As habitat resources around the world continue to diminish with increasing land development and 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 beloved birds, butterflies, and other wildlife so desperately need.

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