BC Hydro responds to spraying concerns

BC Hydro responds to spraying concerns

Dear editor,

I would like to respond to comments in the media in the last few weeks related to BC Hydro’s Pest Management Plan, particularly the use of herbicides.

More than 4 million people in B.C. rely on us for electricity. We carefully maintain the trees and plants that grow around our facilities and power lines to keep them secure and service reliable. Our vegetation management program must minimize public and worker safety hazards, reduce outages due to vegetation growing into or falling onto power lines, reduce the risk of fires caused by trees contacting lines, and allow access and lines of sight for maintenance and security.

We use an integrated approach to deal with the growth of trees and plants near power lines and our facilities. The vast majority (more than 80 per cent) of this is done using manual and mechanical methods. These include brushing, mowing, pruning, hazard tree removals and when needed, grubbing and girdling. Chemical control, through the use of herbicides, is chosen when other control methods are not effective in limiting plant growth. Herbicides are always selectively applied by hand to targeted vegetation. We do not use aerial or broadcast spraying on power line corridors.

When herbicide use is incorporated into our plans, we adhere to strict guidelines outlined in federal and provincial legislation. Our Integrated Vegetation Management Strategy takes great care to protect water bodies, wildlife and compatible vegetation. We do not treat vegetation with herbicides in riparian areas or near drinking water supplies. Our aim is to promote stable, low-growing and biodiverse native plant communities along the power line corridors.

In addition to renewing our five-year Integrated Vegetation Management Plans with the Ministry of Environment, BC Hydro also shares its detailed annual plans with affected landowners, local governments, First Nations and other stakeholders who have a direct interest in the work. This helps us understand where there may be special concerns and how we can adapt our approach.

For more information, visit http://bit.ly/1RPVbXT

 

Tom Wells

BC Hydro vegetation program manager

 

 

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