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Cooperatives care for trees and wildlife Two of North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives recently received recognition for the care they take in managing trees and other vegetation affecting power lines and poles. The cooperatives serve the region between Charlotte and Lumberton which comprises some very rural areas and others affected by suburban expansion.

Union Power’s Tree Line USA Award Union Power Cooperative is the first North Carolina utility to be named a Tree Line USA Utility. The National Arbor Day Foundation, in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters, sponsors the Tree Line USA program to recognize utilities that meet three requirements: a program of quality tree care, annual worker training in quality tree care practices, and a tree planting and public education program. “Across America, people are recogPee Dee Electric at work (left to right): nizing and celebrat- Pee Dee’s right-of-way crew foreman Stan ing how vital trees Dean, resource coordinator Garry Veach are to our cities and foreman Bobby Joe McIntyre inspect and towns,” John the vegetation at a right of way site. Rosenow, president of the National Arbor Day Foundation, said. “Trees help reduce peak demand by conserving energy. They also clean the air and water, increase property value, and make our homes more comfortable, livable places.” Tree Line USA utilities deserve recognition for their commitment to providing safe, efficient service, while helping protect and preserve community trees, Rosenow added. He said Tree Line USA encourages natural pruning instead of the line-clearance practice of topping trees. Natural pruning trains trees to grow around wires and retain more of their natural form. This results in healthier trees and reduced clearance costs for utility companies, since natural pruning has to be done less frequently than topping. “We feel honored to have achieved this national recognition for our tree care practices,” said Tony Herrin, executive vice president and general manager of Union Power. “Good tree care practices are critical for us to deliver the most reliable electric service to our members.” The National Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to tree planting and environmental stewardship.

Pee Dee Electric’s vegetation program The Dow AgroSciences industry magazine, Right-of-Way Vistas, recently recognized Pee Dee Electric for its right-ofway vegetation management program. Pee Dee Electric’s resource coordinator Garry Veach and his crews are responsible for more than 3,400 miles of distribution line in the seven-county, 20,000-member Pee Dee Electric service territory. Garry Veach has been with the company for more than 25 years and an arborist for 30 years. He knows a lot about trees, shrubs and vines and their impact on power lines. Veach and his crews balance the need to access the power lines with not disturbing wildlife habitats. Veach and his crew foremen Bobby Joe McIntyre and Stan Dean are moving toward a chemical maintenance of the rights of way instead of a mechanical one. “Our upfront cost of applying herbicides may be higher than mowing, but over time these costs level out and we expect to have accessible, biodiverse rights of way,” said Veach. “There is a misconception that spraying is harmful to wildlife habitats, but in fact this type of vegetation management is endorsed by many of the country’s environmentalist Union Power’s award (left to right): Stan Adams, and wildlife protection state forester with the N.C. Division of Forest organizations Resources; Wil Ortiz, system arborist for Union Power; Carrie Lorenz, assistant arborist and work like Quail Unlimited.” planner for Union Power; and Wayne Hathcock, The overall manager of Operations at Union Power. objective is to work the rights of way on farms and homes to a point where they can be managed by the property owners and the area can be used for power line-friendly vegetation such as grasses, gardens or wildlife food plots. “When we get there it’s a jungle,” Veach said. “When we get it under control to where the property owner can find the area useful, it’s a win-win situation for everyone.”


8 MAY 2006 Carolina Country

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Profile for Carolina Country


From the sun From the earth From conservation Plus other home improvement ideas How to prepare your house and family for storms — pages 26 –...


From the sun From the earth From conservation Plus other home improvement ideas How to prepare your house and family for storms — pages 26 –...