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Environmental Footprint

Improving Wildlife Habitat

In our 2007|2008 Sustainability Report, we mentioned that several of our properties have been certified as part of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife and Industry Together (WAIT) program. WAIT pairs companies with volunteers and community groups to develop corporate land into natural habitat. In 2008, six additional hydroelectric stations we operate on the Catawba River achieved this distinction, bringing the total number of certified stations in North Carolina to 10. Projects included planting wildlife food plots, protecting nesting areas, and hosting wildlife seminars on site.

We are also working with community groups to protect existing habitats. For example, Boy Scout Troop 59 of Mt. Holly, N.C., is leading a number of habitat upgrade projects at our Riverbend Steam Station. In 2008, the scouts set up a half-mile grassy buffer zone along a nearby forest line. This enhancement not only provides a new sanctuary for birds, it also saves on our maintenance costs since we now need to mow this parcel only once every four years.

In January 2009, the International Soil and Water Conservation Society (N.C. chapter) recognized our environmental management practices with its Industrial Conservation Award. The society commended our work on the replacement of a 20-mile transmission line in rugged and scenic Macon and Graham counties in North Carolina. Much of the construction project took place on U.S. Forest Service land with steep slopes, trout streams and sensitive wetlands. We applied stringent land and water guidelines to minimize the project’s environmental impact.

The annual Eagle Viewing Days at our Cayuga Station near Cayuga, Ind., continue to be a popular draw. During most years, the area hosts Indiana’s largest population of mid-winter migratory bald eagles. The colder the weather, the more likely the birds will be seen. When area lakes and streams freeze in the winter, warm water discharged from the power plant keeps the river near the plant ice-free, attracting fish for the eagles to feed on. In addition to viewing eagles in the wild, the American Eagle Foundation treats visitors to birds-of-prey demonstrations.