Natural gas producer Range Resources aims to better the environment with its new, unique habitat enhancement commitment. On land that once hosted sites related to natural gas development, Range Resources’ Habitat Enhancement program is working to help animal pollinators in southwestern Pennsylvania like Monarch butterflies and honey bees by covering final reclamation sites with plants that are essential for them to thrive.
“We try to be good stewards in our community by supporting projects like these,” said Jeremy Matinko, Range’s Environmental Compliance Manager. “Habitat enhancement provides something the public can see and benefit from.”
After surface operations have ended at a site, Pennsylvania regulations require the site to be restored to its original state. Range has pledged to exceed those expectations in post-drilling restoration, creating habitats that are more hospitable to wildlife than the previous environment. This project has involved planting thousands of Milkweed seeds, a plant that is vital to the survival of monarch butterflies because it provides a food source for caterpillars, and a seed mix that includes grass and wild flowers that support honey bees and other helpful insects. Beyond bringing pollinators back to southwestern Pennsylvania, the company is also creating aquatic features that can become homes for reptiles, amphibians and waterfowl.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, about 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce, but as a result of climate change and human living practices, the habitats of these pollinators have been on the decline. Range Resources’ project aims to reverse that trend. Already, the impact of the program can be seen through the growth of a variety of pollinator plant species and the presence of butterflies, bees and other pollinators across these sites. And while Range Resources is currently implementing the program only on final reclamation sites, it hopes to expand their efforts to include post-drilling restoration.
“Manufacturers across the country are taking proactive and creative steps to improve the environment and enhance their communities,” said National Association of Manufacturers Director of Energy and Resources Policy Laura Berkey-Ames. “The work that Range Resources is doing to build and improve natural habitats in Pennsylvania is an exciting part of that effort. We’re looking forward to seeing continued results as this project grows.”