Monarch butterfly perched on a purple flower.

Although environmental infrastructure helps increase sustainability, it still has a carbon footprint that affects nature and animals nearby. Luckily, smart utility operators can better manage their operations to promote biodiversity in the area around a utility system.

Inspired by International Biodiversity Day, here are four ways to promote biodiversity around infrastructure:

1. Install Wildlife-Friendly Lighting

It’s easy to overlook the effect a building’s outdoor lights can have on surrounding habitats, but lights actually can disrupt natural ecosystems — especially at night, when many species hunt and use the stars to navigate. Adding shields to light bulbs can limit light pollution to avoid splashing light into animals’ homes. Installing motion-activated lights can also do this and save on energy costs at the same time.

2. Build New Habitats

When it comes to accessing food, animals are resourceful – but introduce enough human-made obstructions and animals will abandon entire communities. Additional habitats can address this problem. Building bat boxes in surrounding marshland, for example, allows bats to access drinking water and better mark their territory. The wastewater facility in Milwaukee follows this principle by providing a peregrine falcon population with a nest at the top of the plant.   

3. Remove Invasive Vegetation

Scarcity in native flowers and wildlife isn’t always attributable to our infrastructure. Invasive species of foliage can do this too, depleting the ground’s nutrients and growing more quickly than other plant species. Identifying and removing overgrowth can protect the birds and insects that depend on native plants. Veolia did something similar recently, working with the Charles River Conservancy in Boston extract garlic mustard from the Charles River Watershed.

4. Native Insects Need Love, Too

Every fall, millions of monarch butterflies across North America travel south into Mexico to reproduce in a more temperate climate, creating a beautiful migration pattern. Insects like these can benefit from some additional help. A utility with a pollinator garden can be the perfect connecting flight to the southern border if done right. The property may also appeal to local gardeners, engaging community infrastructure more closely with residents and businesses.

With experience at more than 8,500 North American wastewater facilities, Veolia can help customers increase biodiversity in the environment surrounding their infrastructure. Learn how we’re leading biodiversity efforts worldwide in the video below. 

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