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Transmission Vegetation Management Program

Following the planNYPA has a systemwide Long-Range Transmission Right-of-Way Vegetation Management Plan and Program to ensure the physical integrity of its transmission lines and support structures through a program of regular preventive maintenance.

The largest cause of power outages are trees growing into, falling on, or coming in close proximity to overhead power lines, a contributing factor in the 2003 Northeast Blackout.

Hand-cutting a treeWe employ Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) to prevent tall growing trees and woody shrubs from interfering with critically important transmission lines, which stretch more than 1,400 circuit-miles statewide.

IVM controls growth of undesirable tall plant species while encouraging desirable low-growing plants. “Integrated” refers to a balanced program that includes hand-cutting trees, biological controls promoting low-growing plants, encouraging compatible land use by property owners and selective herbicide use.

Vegetation evaluationLow-growing plants block sunlight from large tree seedlings and compete for nutrients and water. They encourage flowering plants and fruit-bearing shrubs, while providing food, cover and nesting opportunities for songbirds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

In 2013 NYPA was recognized as a “Right-of-Way Steward” Utility Founder for sustainable integrated vegetation management of their respective electric transmission right-of-way system. NYPA plans to continue this accreditation by the Right-of-Way Stewardship Council (ROWSC) as a Right-of-Way Steward Utility.

NYPA crews service approximately 400 miles of the transmission right-of-way each year. Virtually all lines cross properties through grants of easements. Each spring, we send notification letters to all landowners, advising them of upcoming maintenance work.

Selected herbicide useRecently, NYPA renewed an agreement with the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse to identify height growth rates of common tree species on NYPA rights-of-way, assess riparian area conditions and management in the right-of-way, develop a photo guide to identify tall-growing trees; develop presentations for scientific, technical, electric utility and general audiences; and develop publications and workshops on vegetation management. It’s a complex environment: one SUNY-ESF study identified more than 300 plant species, 50 grasses, 30 tree species, 40 shrubs, 15 ferns and 160 other native plants along just one 15-mile stretch of right-of-way north of Rome.

If you have questions or concerns regarding our transmission maintenance or vegetation maintenance programs, please contact us at Vegetation.Management@nypa.gov.  Or call 1-855-697-3637.