Protecting nature while ensuring reliable electricity
Trees and other large vegetation can cause power outages if they fall on or even touch power lines. Duke Energy must keep tall vegetation away from power lines while protecting wildlife habitat and rare plant areas under and around those lines.
Duke Energy’s vegetation management program includes the use of environmentally sound herbicide application techniques that encourage low-growing vegetation for wildlife habitat and discourage tall vegetation that could interfere with the power lines above.
The herbicides promote non-woody plants such as grasses and other native species which provide natural habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, including wild turkeys, bob white quail and pollinators such as bees.
Duke Energy uses herbicides approved by EPA and appropriate state agencies, which are similar to those products used by homeowners in their own yards.
Other vegetation management highlights:
- In the Midwest, Duke Energy works to avoid pruning and removing specific tree species, such as the shag bark hickory, at times when nesting bats might be present.
- In North Carolina, Duke Energy carefully coordinates its vegetation management activities with the state’s Natural Heritage Program to protect rare and threatened plant species, such as the Schweinitz’s sunflower.
- Duke Energy engages in research to ensure it uses ecologically friendly vegetation management practices on all land traversed by its power lines – both private property and public parcels, such as national parks and forests.
“Reliable, 24/7 electric service and sensitive environmental protection go hand-in-hand,” says Ron Adams, Duke Energy vegetation management director.