Habitat Benefits

bee in flowers

Supported by Research

An estimated 9 million acres of utility rights-of-way crisscross the United States to deliver the nation’s electricity. When managed properly, they can also turn the tide on declining populations of certain species.

Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) practices, including selective herbicide applications, are effective in establishing and maintaining early successional plant species, making rights-of-way attractive to wildlife such as birds, deer and pollinators.

Environmental studies like the Pennsylvania State Game Lands 33 (SGL 33) research project and Green Lane Research and Demonstration Area have analyzed the impact of vegetation management methods including herbicide applications for decades and confirmed the effects of IVM on native habitat and wildlife throughout electric rights-of-way.

Key messages to communicate from these long-standing studies include:

  • Penn State University has led more than 60 years of continuous research to study the effects of vegetation management on wildlife habitat within rights-of-way.

  • Use of selective herbicides results in diverse vegetation that provides forage and habitat for wildlife on rights-of-way.

  • Using appropriate herbicides and application methods can positively change plant communities.

  • The establishment and growth of desirable vegetation blocks tree establishment on rights-of-way, which reduces maintenance costs and the potential for power outages.

Most recently, SGL 33 has turned its attention to pollinators as global populations continue to decline. Researchers have found that the use of selective herbicides can help establish and maintain early successional plant species on ROW, which provides excellent native habitat for a variety of wildlife, including numerous pollinator species.

Additional Resources to Review

Workers in rights of way

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We’ve compiled the additional resources included within the Notify Your Neighbor program in one spot for easy printing and sharing.

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