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Vegetation Management

Vegetation Management Group

FirstEnergy’s Vegetation Management group is an innovative, industry-leading organization that advocates for and practices excellence in sustainable utility vegetation management. Our workforce is committed to safe and compliant vegetation management practices using education, emerging technologies and industry and stakeholder collaboration.

This group manages transmission and distribution corridors to support the delivery of safe and reliable electricity while also working to make the environment better. The group uses industry best practices to create sustainable habitats on FirstEnergy’s rights-of-way. Through the Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) program, our vegetation management efforts preserve biodiversity and minimize environmental impacts on our transmission and distribution lines.

Our vegetation management staff performs inspections and approves all work conducted by vegetation management contractors. We have contracts with more than 30 companies that perform vegetation management activities on our transmission and distribution system, totaling an estimated 1,500 crews and 3,500 trained, qualified line clearance workers. All vegetation management work is performed in accordance with the American National Standards Institute’s ANSI-Z133.1, ANSI-A300 Standards—vegetation management and safety standards set by the Tree Care Industry Association—and other applicable federal, state and local regulations. Additionally, forestry personnel attend industry trade conferences and maintain memberships in industry trade organizations, such as Utility Arborist Association and International Society of Arboriculture. Forestry personnel also seek relevant certifications such as Registered Professional Forester, Tree Risk Assessment Qualification, Certified Tree Expert and Pesticide Licenses.

Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM)

We use IVM techniques to evaluate the transmission corridor to identify incompatible vegetation, define a vegetation control timeframe, and assess and select control options. IVM includes ecologically focused management practices that promote compatible, biodiverse and thriving plant communities for long-term vegetation maintenance. Well-managed rights-of-way provide the food and cover wildlife need to survive, improving the biodiversity of our transmission corridors. IVM also provides a unique opportunity to create pollinator-friendly habitats that sustain healthy populations of bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects. IVM accomplishes three things:

In 2016, our Transmission Vegetation Management group began a LiDAR pilot project to more accurately and efficiently identify incompatible vegetation for removal. LiDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging, uses a helicopter, fixed-wing aircraft, drone or ground vehicle with a sensor that projects light particles and measures the time it takes for the light to bounce off objects and return to the sensor. Similar to the way that dolphins and bats use echolocation, LiDAR data can be used to create an image from light point clouds to show the height of vegetation on the transmission corridor. The pilot project has since expanded to all operating companies in 2019 and evolved into an annual project. As the technology improves, the Transmission Vegetation Management group plans to use LiDAR data for tree health identification, artificial intelligence and other initiatives aimed at enhancing safety and reliability.

FirstEnergy’s IVM practices promote compatible, biodiverse and thriving plant communities and create pollinator-friendly habitats along our transmission corridors.

Pollinator and Research Efforts

FirstEnergy’s Vegetation Management group supports various pollinator initiatives and participates in collaborative research studies that help us develop sustainable vegetation management practices.

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