From the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
-- The Department of Fish and Wildlife and numerous conservation organizations have partnered with Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities to improve wildlife habitat in the corridors of land beneath selected power lines in central Kentucky from now through next year.
LG&E and KU have contributed $25,000 in their combined service territories to help private landowners improve wildlife habitat in the corridors under power lines.
The habitat program is called POWER - Promoting Our Wildlife and Energy Resources. It assists private landowners who own property crossed by transmission lines in obtaining funding for habitat improvements. Biologists with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife first provide technical habitat recommendations to landowners free of charge, then help applicants obtain funding through the Program.
Several specific power lines in the Bluegrass Region have been designated by LG&E and KU to test the program. The program may be expanded to include more of the companies' territories in the future.
Brian Clark, a wildlife biologist and assistant director of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife's Public Affairs Division, noted that utility companies must maintain the vegetation beneath power lines in order to comply with federal laws and ensure safe, reliable power delivery. "Typically this is done with periodic mowing or spraying to control woody plants," he said. "The POWER Program provides an opportunity to benefit the environment and lower costs."
The pilot project is an extension of a larger effort with landowners in central Kentucky. The POWER Program includes only transmission lines that span longer distances and have wider corridors than the smaller distribution lines that typically run through residential neighborhoods. Kentucky has thousands of miles of gas and electric transmission lines, encompassing tens of thousands of acres of land.
Landowners interested in improving their property for wildlife through the program can (800)858-1549. Landowners can also go online http://fw.ky.gov/navigation.aspx?cid=704 for more information. There is no charge or obligation for technical assistance. Property owners do not have to open their land to the public to participate in the programs.