Rochester Public Utilities | Blog

Rochester Public Utilities Receives Funding from Minnesota’s Habitat Friendly Utilities Program

June 26, 2024 – Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) is partnering with the State of Minnesota’s Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) to implement two habitat-friendly pollinator corridors in Rochester. This three-year pilot project is all about transforming two transmission corridors into long standing pollinating habitats that incorporate native vegetation that supports pollinating insects, mitigates erosion and sedimentation, and ensures the integrity and resiliency of Rochester’s landscapes while protecting habitat and water resources.   

The goals of this three-year pilot project are to determine if creating pollinator habitats at other RPU facility locations are:

  1. A cost-effective method for replacing existing land management practices.
  2. Successfully increasing and maintaining native plant species.
  3. Reducing soil erosion and improving water quality.
  4. Creating pleasing aesthetics.
  5. Connecting habitat corridors.  

Integrated vegetation management (IVM) for utility transmission corridors, also known as ROWs (rights-of-way), can be cost-effective solutions while supporting environmental conservation.  IVM practices reduce the need for pesticides, promote healthy ecosystems, and better control of invasive species.

“It’s exciting to be building sustainable landscapes that will support wildlife habitats for pollinating insects” said RPU’s Interim Director of Customer Relations Patty Hanson. “You hear so much about the declining bee population, this agreement gives us the opportunity to do something about it”.

“The Habitat Friendly Utilities Program is an exciting new initiative for BWSR.  Thousands of acres of ROWs transect Minnesota and can provide important travel corridors for wildlife. Through efforts like the pilot projects with RPU, we can establish quality native vegetation along ROWs that provide multiple benefits including pollinator habitat as well as increases in carbon sequestration and improved water management,” said Jason Beckler, BWSR’s Ecological Science Conservationist. 

For more information about Rochester Public Utilities and its environmental stewardship efforts, please visit

About Rochester Public Utilities

As the municipal utility of Rochester, Minn., for more than 120 years, RPU has provided high-quality and reliable electricity to over 59,000 customers. Water customers number more than 42,000. RPU is governed by a five-member Utility Board and the Rochester City Council. RPU continually investigates innovative technologies to help customers realize the best value from the services they receive. Current initiatives include photovoltaic offerings, wind energy, energy and water-efficient equipment, and electric vehicle charging.