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Prairie in Progress
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Prairie in Progress

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Butterfly in natural habitat image

In 2018, OPPD began converting 325 acres of its property into natural pollinator habitat. Since then, several OPPD substation sites are being transformed into prairies. In addition to helping a potentially threatened species, the transformed areas result in an annual savings of about $8,000 and help with erosion control.

Helping the Monarchs

OPPD is working on plans to expand its Prairie in Progress project, a joint effort with the Save Our Monarchs Foundation. The project began with a simple goal of reducing grounds maintenance costs. One way the team looked at was to increase biodiversity through planting native grasses and plants. 

Public interest and community outreach led OPPD to consider the plight of the monarch butterfly. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering listing the monarch as a threatened or endangered species. In response, OPPD looked at the kinds of habitat that could help support the species. 

OPPD volunteers spread seed mix at a site near the utility’s Nebraska City Station and the OPPD Arboretum at 108th and Blondo streets in Omaha. It takes several seasons for the seedlings to establish.

Several OPPD substation sites are also being transformed into prairie/ pollinator habitat. Twelve district sites are in the process of being restored to natural pollinator habitat. Transforming these areas into natural prairie saves the utility about $8,000 a year in maintenance costs. Slowing water run-off, soil erosion control and carbon sequestration are other benefits to adding prairie at these sites.

Make your own pollinator habitat. 1. From window boxes to acres of farmland, any site can be a habitat. 2. Use plants native to your area, or at the very least non-invasive. 3. Plant in clusters to create a "target" for pollinators. 4. Plant for continuous bloom throughout the growing season (spring and fall). 5. Select a site removed from wind, with at least partial sun, that can provide water. 6. Allow material from dead branches and logs to remain as nesting sites. Reduce mulch to allow patches of bare ground for ground-nesting bees. Consider installing wood nesting blocks for wood-nesting natives.

Thank you to our partners!
Bellevue University Sustainability Learning Lab
Conservation Blueprint
Save Our Monarchs
Smither’s Custom Lawn Care & Landscaping
Weedcope, Inc.

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