Addressing System Reliability and Ecological Concerns with Right-of-Way Stewardship Management
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Addressing System Reliability and Ecological Concerns with Right-of-Way Stewardship Management

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Addressing System Reliability and Ecological Concerns with Right-of-Way Stewardship Management ...

Addressing System Reliability and Ecological Concerns with Right-of-Way Stewardship Management

Derek Vannice, CN Utility Consulting

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This presentation is a summary of the Accredited ROW Steward Utility Program is an accreditation program which establishes standards for responsible ROW vegetation management. The aim of the program is to promote the application of integrated vegetation management (IVM) and best management practices to the utility vegetation management industry in order to maintain power system reliability and address ecological concerns.

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  • There are approximately 160,000 miles of transmission line operating at 230-765 kilovolts (kV), which make up the bulk power grid regulated by FERC <br />
  • The ROW Environmental Steward Program offers value to all Stakeholders such as: <br /> Value for IVM Practitioners <br /> -Direct and Indirect Cost Savings Using Systems Approach to Cost Effective Vegetation Management <br /> -Company Recognition as an Environmental Steward <br /> Value for Agencies <br /> -Fosters Confidence that IVM Practitioners Will Meet Their Objectives <br /> -Improves Relations With State & Federal Agencies & Stakeholder Groups <br /> -Assures Compliance with Regulation & Reduces Need for New Regulation <br /> Value for Public <br /> -Positive Relations by Engaging Stakeholders throughout the IVM Process <br /> -Stakeholders are Notified and Understand Impact <br /> -Societal and Community Impacts are Considered in IVM Policies <br />
  • Unique Partnerships – Steering Committee <br /> The ROW Steward Council steering committee is comprised of representatives from all stakeholder interests <br /> Non-Governmental Environmental Organizations, Academia, UVM Industry, Government Regulators and the Public at Larg <br />
  • ROW Environmental Steward Program <br /> The ROW Steward Council is comprised of several committees including the ROW Steward Council, Audit Committee, Technical Advisory Committee and a Program Administrator. <br /> It has a wide array of diverse professional experts and interests represented to assure the program independently accredits vegetation management programs for exemplary and sustainable performance of Integrated Vegetation Management and that the Council Obtains it’s mission “To benefit society and the environment by promoting sustainable resource management principles and practices on rights-of-way.” <br />
  • Utilities manage vegetation on over many transmission miles <br /> North American transmission system in total, including those lines that operate at 35 kV and above is estimated at over 450,000 miles. <br /> 160,000 miles of transmission line operating at 230-765 kilovolts (kV), <br /> The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has estimated the total land area being managed as transmission corridors encompasses 8.6 million acres. <br /> Transmission owners are assessed using principles and criteria by a third-party audit team <br /> A field assessment will be conducted over 5 days <br /> Additional Pre & Post-audit of Policy, Planning and Procedure Documents <br /> 4 days of Report Writing <br />
  • ROW Environmental Steward Principles <br /> Core to the ROW Environmental Stewardship accreditation are the Principles that ROW vegetation management programs must have to be considered exemplary and sustainable in the performance of Integrated Vegetation Management <br /> The principles that demonstrate responsible management are: <br /> Compliance with Law, Standards and Best Management Practices <br /> Community & Worker Relations <br /> Tenure & Use Rights & Responsibilities <br /> Management Planning <br /> At an operational level, IVM can be considered as a system composed of six steps that formalizes the relationships among phases of management to prevent, monitor and control undesirable plants and plant communities. <br /> These are key principles are: <br /> Understanding pest and ecosystem dynamics <br /> Setting management objectives and tolerance levels <br /> Compiling broad array treatment types <br /> Accounting for economic and ecological effects of treatments <br /> Site-specifics implementation of treatments <br /> Adaptive management and monitoring <br />
  • Compliance with the Law <br /> The vegetation management program and maintenance practices respect all national, state, and local laws and regulations <br /> All workers are legally documented and eligible to be employed <br /> Tenure Use Rights and Responsibilities <br /> The ROW Asset Manager has clear evidence of long-term right of use of the land that are documented – easements, deed, licenses <br /> Appropriate mechanisms in place and employed to resolve disputes over land use rights to ensure that proper maintenance activities can occur <br /> Unauthorized uses of the right-of-way is discouraged <br />
  • Summary of IVM planned activities is provided annually to general public <br /> Stakeholders affected by proposed IVM operations are informed of the environmental and aesthetic effects and their concerns are considered in management planning and operations <br /> Stakeholders apprised of ROW Stewardship and IVM Benefits <br /> Communities adjacent to ROW vegetation maintenance activities are provided with educational opportunities related to IVM <br /> ROW work offered in ways that create high quality job opportunities <br /> ROW Asset Manager, the Vegetation Manager and the Contractor demonstrate a long-term commitment to adhere to the ROW Steward program and associated IVM principles and criteria <br />
  • The ROW Asset Manager has an established formal written strategic Vegetation Management Plan (VMP), with supporting documentation, in place that guides IVM program decisions <br /> The ROW Asset Manager has in place tactical project maintenance plans that are developed annually that take into account local considerations <br /> Strategic and tactical management plans are periodically revised to incorporate the results of monitoring of new scientific and technical information, as well as to respond to changing environmental, social, and economic circumstances <br /> A summary of vegetation maintenance activities is produced annually and made available to the general public <br /> IVM workers are competent to ensure proper implementation of vegetation management plans <br />
  • Vegetation Managers are knowledgeable about the managed ecosystem, respective to the basic biology and ecology of plant communities and other organisms occupying and using the ROW system, and the environment in which they occur <br /> Supports research and development activities to provide additional insights, and for enhancing understanding and knowledge of the ecology of the managed ROW ecosystem <br /> Provides Vegetation Managers and IVM workers opportunities to improve skills and knowledge through education and training <br />
  • Setting Management Objectives & Tolerance Levels <br /> Planning includes & considers Societal impacts of VM activities <br /> Tolerance levels are established for incompatible species <br /> Significant Societal & Community impacts are considered in policies, demonstrated willingness to adjust policies based on impact <br /> Compilation of Broad Array of Treatment Techniques <br /> Consider wide variety of methods <br /> Progressively evaluate treatments & add where effective to establish low stable plant community <br /> Equipment, tools, technology are up to date to ensure implementation of vegetation management practices <br />
  • Accounting for Economic & Ecological Effects of Treatments <br /> Economically viable taking into account full environmental, social and operational costs <br /> Use of selective methods to promote low growing stable plant community <br /> Site Specific Implementation of Treatments <br /> Land management units for different treatments <br /> Written prescriptions for vegetation management units <br /> Current surveys used to write prescriptions <br /> Adaptive Management & Monitoring – QA & QC <br /> Periodic monitoring to assess outcomes <br /> Results of monitoring are incorporated into refined VMP to meet objectives <br />
  • The value impacts of the ROW Environmental Steward Program are: <br /> Independently accredited Integrated Vegetation Management Programs that are recognized for exemplary and sustainable performance across the North American transmission grid <br /> Direct benefits to the IVM program through adoption of best practices <br /> Regulatory Benefit – Assures compliance and may head off new regulation <br /> Active engagement with stakeholders <br /> Customer and public education and outreach <br /> Environmental stewardship <br />
  • The value impacts of the ROW Environmental Steward Program are: <br /> Independently accredited Integrated Vegetation Management Programs that are recognized for exemplary and sustainable performance across the North American transmission grid <br /> Direct benefits to the IVM program through adoption of best practices <br /> Regulatory Benefit – Assures compliance and may head off new regulation <br /> Active engagement with stakeholders <br /> Customer and public education and outreach <br /> Environmental stewardship <br />

Addressing System Reliability and Ecological Concerns with Right-of-Way Stewardship Management Addressing System Reliability and Ecological Concerns with Right-of-Way Stewardship Management Presentation Transcript

  • Right-of-Way Stewardship Council (ROWSC) Accreditation Program 2013
  • Why Utility ROW Accreditation? Probably the most effective tool is better communication between the public and transmission owners, both in terms of the reason for and timing of ROW work, the methods to be used (and why the utility has chosen a particular method), and the rights and responsibilities of the utility and homeowner. Lack of communication causes landowner frustration over the loss of trees, which are not always replaced by the utility. Moreover, as I mentioned earlier, many landowners are unaware of the existence of a utility ROW agreement for their property. …FERC Chair – Wellinghoff - EL&P Interview
  • In a Nut Shell “The intent of the ROWSC initiative is to create a validation program that recognizes excellence in Integrated Vegetation Management on the North American Transmission Grid” …Derek Vannice Chairman ROWSC
  • North American transmission system in total, including those lines that operate at 35 kV and above is estimated at over 450,000 miles. How big a land area are we talking about? The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has estimated the total land area being managed as transmission corridors encompasses 8.6 million acres. ROW Stewardship Council - 2013
  • The ROWSC Program independently accredits vegetation management programs for exemplary and sustainable performance of Integrated Vegetation Management Value for IVM Practitioners – Direct and indirect cost savings - using a systems approach to cost effective vegetation management – Company recognition as a steward Value for Agencies – Fosters confidence that IVM practitioners will meet their objectives – Improves relations with state & federal agencies & stakeholder groups – Assures compliance with regulation & reduces need for new regulation Value for Public – Positive relations by engaging stakeholders throughout the IVM process – Stakeholders are notified and better understand impact – Societal and community impacts are considered in IVM policies ROW Stewardship Council - 2013
  • ROWSC Program Unique Partnerships – Board of Directors – Non- Governmental Organizations – Wildlife Habitat Council, The Nature Conservancy, Pollinator Partnership – Academia – Cornell University, SUNY ESF – UVM Industry – T-ROW Asset Owner/Manager, UVM Contractor, Consultants and Suppliers – Industry Organization – EPRI, EEI – Government/Regulator – EPA – Public at Large ROW Stewardship Council - 2013
  • ROWSC Program Endorsements “The Wildlife Habitat Council is excited to participate in the ROW Steward initiative to support the inclusion of sustainability concepts into land management on a land-based system with such potential.” Josiane Bonneau Director, Field Programs Wildlife Habitat Council “The Environmental Protection Agency supports the industry’s idea of a credible third party certification program for utility rights-of-way based on Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) principles and standards, which provide a means of reducing the need for pesticides and greater natural species diversity along rights of way and better control of invasive species” Frank Ellis, Chief of the Environmental Stewardship Branch USEPA ROW Stewardship Council - 2013
  • Technical Advisory **Affiliations: Committee** BioCompliance Consulting, Inc. PacifiCorp. Asplundh Tree Expert Co. Dow AgroSciences Environmental Consultants, Inc. Purdue University NY Power Authority Duquesne Light IVM Partners Audubon International Bonneville Power Admnistration ROWSC Board*** ***Affiliations: ROWSC Board & Committees Wildlife Habitat Council The Nature Conservancy Pollinator Partnership Cornell University Progressive Solutions CN Utility DuPont EPA EPRI Pacific Gas & Electric Exelon FirstEnergy SUNY ESF BioCompliance Consulting, Inc UAA Audit Committee* *Affiliations: Program Administrator Dovetail Partners, Inc SUNY ESF National Grid USA Pacific Gas & Electric Environmental Consultants, Inc. ROW Stewardship Council - 2013
  • ROWSC Principles ROW Steward Program is defined by 10 principles and 32 criteria Includes principles and criteria on policy, planning and procedures for Integrated Vegetation Management systems Transmission owners are assessed by a third-party audit team with expertise in ROWs and IVM Program formalizes relationship among phases of management to prevent, monitor and control vegetation conditions ROW Stewardship Council - 2013
  • ROWSC Principles Compliance with Law, Standards & BMP’s Adaptive Management & Monitoring Site Specific Implementation of Treatments Tenure & Use Rights & Responsibilities Account for Economic & Ecological Effects of Treatments Understand Pest & Eco System Dynamics Community & Worker Relations Set Management Objectives & Tolerance Levels Compile Broad Array of Treatment Types Management Planning ROW Stewardship Council - 2013
  • ROWSC Principles Compliance with the Law – The vegetation management program and maintenance practices respect all national, state, and local laws and regulations – Workers are legally documented and eligible to be employed Tenure Use Rights and Responsibilities – Clear evidence of easements, deed, licenses – Appropriate mechanisms in place and employed to resolve disputes to ensure that proper maintenance activities can occur – Unauthorized uses of the right-of-way is discouraged ROW Stewardship Council - 2013
  • ROWSC Principles Community Relations and Worker’s Rights – Stakeholders are: – provided annual summary of IVM planned activities – informed of the environmental and aesthetic effects and their concerns are considered – apprised of ROW Stewardship and IVM Benefits – Communities adjacent to ROW vegetation maintenance activities are provided with educational opportunities related to IVM – ROW work offered in ways that create high quality job opportunities – ROW Program Personnel and Contractor demonstrate commitment to the ROW Steward program and associated IVM principles and criteria ROW Stewardship Council - 2013
  • ROWSC Principles Management Planning – The ROW Manager has – an established Vegetation Management Plan (VMP) – tactical maintenance plans that take into account local considerations – Plan is periodically revised to incorporate: – results of monitoring and new scientific and technical information – to respond to changing environmental, social, and economic circumstances – Annual summary of vegetation maintenance made available to the public – Workers are trained and well-qualified to ensure proper implementation of vegetation management plans ROW Stewardship Council - 2013
  • ROWSC Principles Understanding Pests & Ecosystem Dynamics – Vegetation Managers are knowledgeable about: – – – – the managed ecosystem basic biology ecology of plant communities Other organisms occupying and using ROW system and environment – Vegetation Managers and IVM Personnel: – Support research and development activities – Provided with opportunities to improve skills and knowledge through education and training ROW Stewardship Council - 2013
  • ROWSC Principles Setting Management Objectives & Tolerance Levels – Planning includes & considers social impacts of VM activities – Tolerance levels are established for incompatible species – Significant social & community impacts are considered in policies, demonstrated willingness to adjust policies based on impact Compilation of Broad Array of Treatment Techniques – Consider wide variety of methods – Progressively evaluate treatments & add/change where effective – Equipment, tools, technology are up to date to ensure implementation of vegetation management practices ROW Stewardship Council - 2013
  • ROWSC Principles Accounting for Economic & Ecological Effects of Treatments – Economically viable, taking into account full environmental, social and operational costs – Use of selective methods to promote low growing stable plant community Site Specific Implementation of Treatments – Land management units for different treatments – Written prescriptions for vegetation management units – Current surveys used to write prescriptions Adaptive Management & Monitoring – QA & QC – Periodic monitoring to assess outcomes – Results of monitoring are incorporated into refined VMP to meet objectives ROW Stewardship Council - 2013
  • Value Impact – ROWSC Program Independently accredited Integrated Vegetation Management programs that are recognized for exemplary and sustainable performance across the North American transmission grid Direct benefits to the IVM program through adoption of best practices Regulatory Benefit – Assures compliance and may head off new regulation Active engagement with stakeholders Customer and public education and outreach Environmental stewardship ROW Stewardship Council - 2013
  • Next Steps – ROWSC Program ROW Stewardship Council - 2013