U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Deborah Harris and Atlanta Botanical Garden Pollinator Restoration Coordinator Melina Lozano Durán initiated a partnership last summer with Georgia Power ISA Certified Arborist Utility Specialist Kym Stephens and Wildlife Biologist Jim Ozier to create a pollinator habitat on a power line right-of-way. Georgia Power proposed a project at Morgan Falls Park. The planting site is not open to the public. Nevertheless, the habitat is likely to attract many bees and butterflies which may be seen by people using the park. If this site is successful, we propose to expand the project to other areas.
The area is located between the Morgan Falls Overlook Park and the Morgan Falls River Park/ Dog Park, where the most extensive and oldest hydroelectric project in Georgia was built (100 Morgan Falls Road, Sandy Springs, GA). The right-of-way site is relatively level at the top where the planting took place and then slopes down to the river. The level planting site is well-drained and has clay soil. Georgia Power mows the area every three years, and chemical control is applied about a year after mowing to suppress invasives like kudzu.
Vegetation in the area includes Johnson grass and other invasives. Some other plants noted in the area include Big bluestem, common lespedeza, wild aster, Queen Ann’s lace, wild mint, hydrangea, sorrel, wild onion, ragweed, horseweed, and clover. Several of these plants are already foraging sources for many insect pollinators, even when some can be considered invasives, and are controlled with herbicide on right-of-ways.
This project started at the end of June, with several meetings onsite through the next months. The site was prep October 17 by Tri Scapes, and on November 3 the following group met on site to plant! Melina Lozano Durán (ABG), Chris Barrow (Volunteer), Kym Stephens (GA Power), Terry Wright (Tri Scapes), Deborah Harris (U.S. FWS), Henning Von Schmeling (CNC), and Brooke Vacovsky (Blue Heron Nature Preserve).
Seed mix will be incorporated later this month.
According to Kym Stephens plants are looking right, we have had some rainy days, and luckily winter will be cold enough so they can survive. Tri Scapes will be spraying herbicide on the sides of the plantings to ensure invasives will not drown our newly pollinator suitable planted species.