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Helping save pollinators

Xcel Energy creating pollinator habitat by new substation

Eloise Ogden/MDN Native plants were being seeded for pollinator habitat on Wednesday around Xcel Energy’s new Magic City Substation being built southeast of Minot. It is the first pollinator habitat project for Xcel Energy in North Dakota and the largest project – 40 acres – companywide.

Xcel Energy is supporting the fight to save pollinators like honey bees and monarch butterflies to produce fruit and seeds.

On Wednesday, Xcel Energy crews planted a pollinator habitat around its new substation being built southeast of Minot.

“While we have more than 30 active and potential pollinator sites in our Minnesota and Wisconsin territories, this is our first project in North Dakota,” said Kathy Aas, a spokeswoman for Xcel Energy in Minot.

A pollinator was used to do the seeding on the 40 acres of land surrounding the substation. It is also the largest habitat project for Xcel Energy companywide.

“The native plants will benefit pollinators such as the monarch butterfly and honeybees, and will include a native seed mix featuring over two dozen types of plants ranging from western wheatgrass to purple coneflowers,” Aas said.

Eloise Ogden/MDN Xcel Energy’s new Magic City Substation southeast of Minot is being constructed as part of the new Magic City-McHenry 230 kilovolt transmission line project to provide enhanced electric reliability service in the area.

She said Xcel Energy is partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the project.

Pollinators are vital but many of the needed species are shrinking toward extinction, according to Xcel Energy officials. Xcel Energy and the contractors employed do not use chemicals that are harmful to beneficial insects in its vegetation management practices to control brush, trees and weeds on its rights-of-way and properties. This includes not using neonicotinoids, which is of special concern to people working to improve bee populations. Pollinator habitats typically take three to four years to begin thriving.

Aas said the new Magic City Substation is being constructed as part of the new Magic City-McHenry 230 kilovolt transmission line project to provide enhanced electric reliability service in the area.

“The 20-mile transmission line will run between the existing McHenry Substation near Velva and the new Magic City Substation located near the Minot wastewater treatment facility. The nearly $50 million project is expected to be complete by the end of 2018,” she said.

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