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AEP Transmission Headquarters Campus to Include Vegetation Management Demo Plots

by on October 10, 2018
The grassy area in the foreground of this photo is a site for AEP’s right-of-way vegetation management research. Behind it, you can see the original New Albany Transmission Headquarters, with the second office building under construction.

(Story by Linda O’horo)

Utility companies are increasingly evaluating the substitution of regionally appropriate, native plants for construction site restoration to promote sustainability and lower operations and maintenance expenses. Increasingly, AEP has been researching and implementing vegetation projects at a number of sites across its footprint.

As part of AEP’s ongoing vegetation management research, Right-of-Way Vegetation Management demonstration plots are being created near the AEP Transmission Headquarters buildings in New Albany, Ohio. Eventually, the demonstration plot area will be open to the public.

“Research indicates that the substitution of appropriate native plants in right-of-way areas can inhibit the invasiveness of trees and other vegetation which eventually increases vegetation management work to ensure reliability,” saidTim Lohner, Ph.D., consulting environmental specialist, AEP Water and Ecology Services.

“Native plants tend to establish stable, ‘competitive’ covers with deeper roots, which help prevent the establishment of trees and other ‘problem’ vegetation. There is also better erosion control. In addition, we can select native seed mixes which attract and support the habitats of insect pollinators, birds and other wildlife.”

Although there may be a bit more initial work related to use of native plants, less maintenance is required over time resulting in substantial cost savings and reduced reliability risks from overgrown vegetation getting into power lines and equipment.

“We are excited that we will have the opportunity to provide this site where we can test various seed mixes for construction site restoration. There we can provide an easily-accessible and educational demonstration for AEP employees, contractors and the public about native plants and AEP’s related sustainability efforts,” said Lisa Barton, executive vice president, AEP Transmission.

Temporary vegetation planted this fall will be replaced with a final seed in the spring. Seed mixes designed for use at solar facilities may also be tested.

AEP Environmental Services is recommending that simple, regionally appropriate, native seed mixes be used, when possible, after construction at landfill, pond closure and solar project sites.

From → News From AEP

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