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Ameren Illinois Pollinators Thriving In Metro East

East Carondelet, Troy pollinator sites earn special environmental distinction

COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (MARCH 14, 2024) – Ameren Illinois continues to transform its landscape around substations and in the rights-of-way of transmission and distribution power line corridors in the Metro East. The company is removing woody and invasive vegetation where it is incompatible and replacing it with native vegetation where feasible as part of its ongoing Pollinator Initiative across its service territory.

The newest pollinator project in the Metro East is located on a five-acre plot in East Carondelet. Ameren Illinois removed non-native vegetation to make way for the Metro South Reliability Project in 2021 to improve reliability, make the electric grid more resilient and reduce the outage risk for customers in the area. Native seed was prepped, planted and now has successfully become a thriving site for a large number of pollinating insects.

“We installed this pollinator-friendly project in East Carondelet for multiple reasons," said Kenneth Lynn, Environmental Scientist for Ameren. "This area was full of invasive, incompatible woody vegetation like bush honeysuckle and other dense vegetation. These invasive plants pose safety issues for our line workers during an outage and pose potential reliability issues growing right under the power lines. We changed out that invasive plant community for a different one featuring native plants and grasses that cater toward pollinators, including monarch butterflies.”

The East Carondelet project along with an additional pollinator project at the company's Jarvis Substation in Troy were each recently designated as Monarch Waystation sites by Illinois Monarch Watch. The waystations are places that provide resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration. Without milkweed throughout their spring and summer breeding areas in North America, monarchs would not be able to produce the successive generations that culminate in the migration each fall.

"The Village of East Carondelet would like to thank Ameren Illinois for this beautification project," said Herb Simmons, Mayor of East Carondelet. "Before Ameren built the new transmission line that crosses State Street near 14th Street, the area was overgrown with thick and ugly looking vegetation. Ameren removed that eye sore and transformed the area by planting pollinator-friendly flowers to accentuate and improve the aesthetic appearance of this section of the village."

East Carondelet represents the fourth successful pollinator project in the Metro East. The four projects cover more than 30 total acres. The other project locations include:

  • Troy – Jarvis substation – 10 acres
  • Valmeyer – 4 acres
  • Madison County – Gateway-Roxford substation – 15 acres

"As a utility company that maintains thousands of acres of land across 43,700 square miles, we recognize the value of natural habitats, conserving native species to aid in wildlife conservation and supporting biodiversity in the regions we serve," said Lenny Singh, President of Ameren Illinois. "Successful pollinator projects help us keep maintenance costs down, passing those savings on to customers, while supporting local biodiversity."

Native vegetation best supports natural biodiversity. The use of native vegetation also supports Ameren's Integrated Vegetation Management, which reduces the need for mowing, watering, and chemical controls because native plants are adapted to the local growing conditions.

In 2021, Ameren became a founding member of Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI's) "Power-in-Pollinators" Initiative to look for additional ways to be responsible stewards of natural resources that impact food supply.

Tips for Supporting Pollinators at Home
You can take steps to help pollinators flourish in your own yard:

  • Plant native flowers that bloom at different times of the year.
  • Diversify your garden with flowers that are different in color, shape, and size, which helps attract a wider variety of pollinators.
  • Plant flowers in clumps rather than spaced out.
  • Avoid using pesticides, if possible.
  • Include a bird bath or water feature that provides pollinators with clean water.

About Ameren Illinois
Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and more than 800,000 natural gas customers throughout central and southern Illinois. Our service territory covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles. Our mission is to power the quality of life. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com. Follow us on Twitter @AmerenIllinois and Facebook.

For further information: Brian Bretsch, 618-407-6894, bbretsch@ameren.com; Karly Combest, 217-778-3726, kcombest@ameren.com