PESP Champions use a variety of IPM tools to reduce pesticide risk such as: sampling to accurately determine pest population levels, using less toxic or reduced-risk pesticides, and using application methods that either eliminate or significantly reduce the potential for off site movement of pesticides.
"This is a huge honor, to be recognized by the EPA," said Tony Johnson, supervisor, Transmission Vegetation Management, Northeast Utilities. "They see our commitment to the environment through the integrated vegetation management program we use along our transmission rights of way."
"We strive to provide areas that are free of vegetation that may interfere with the reliability and safe operation of the electric system while allowing the natural establishment or retention of low growing species such as shrubs and ferns," adds Johnson. "These rights of way provide shelter and food for a multitude of birds and mammals. And because of the vast differences in topography, vegetation species, land use, population densities and regulatory factors in our service area, we use a variety of management practices and control methods."
The NU program includes manual, mechanical, chemical, cultural and biological methods. Examples are the use of very low toxicity herbicides that are water soluble and do not persist in the environment, the use of low volume, low pressure backpack sprayers that essentially eliminate the potential of spray drift and the timing of applications to avoid any potential problems with agricultural activities and public use of the rights of way.
Additionally, the elimination of problematic tree and shrub species allows native, low-growing vegetation to become well established. The competition for available sunlight, nutrients and water aids in reducing the numbers of problem species that can grow in these corridors. This results in less maintenance requirements which typically means less pesticide use in each successive cycle.
Creating these low maintenance, low-growing vegetated areas also provides the benefit of a wildlife habitat. These shrubs, forbs, ferns and grasses provide an area that is ideal to a very large array of wildlife species including migratory birds.
PESP was established in 1994 with ten charter partners and today has over 130 members. Northeast Utilities has been an active partner since 1997.
Northeast Utilities (NYSE: NU) is a Fortune 500 diversified energy company located in Connecticut with operations throughout the Northeast. Through its competitive and regulated subsidiaries, NU provides energy for a changing world with a full range of products and services to millions of residential and business customers from Maine to Maryland. From delivering electricity and natural gas, to marketing energy commodities, to operating and maintaining power plant facilities, NU is committed to safety, reliability and expanding consumers' energy options. For more information on Northeast Utilities and its subsidiaries, visit the NU family of Web sites at www.nu.com.
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