ATC recognized for environmental stewardship
American Transmission Co. has been recognized with the Business Friend of the Environment – Environmental Stewardship award from Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. The annual award recognizes companies that demonstrate environmental leadership and take a cooperative approach toward improving the environment.
ATC received the award for efforts to support pollinator habitats and improve bird safety around our transmission facilities. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp presented the award at this year’s WMC Policy Day on Tuesday at the Monona Terrace in Madison.
Avian Protection Program
ATC supports sustainable environmental policies and actions. During facility siting and design, ATC identifies areas of heavy avian use and evaluates measures to mitigate potential avian impacts. ATC also installs flight diverters and perch guards to prevent birds from becoming injured by transmission lines or structures.
ATC began tracking avian interactions with our transmission facilities nearly 10 years ago, and as part of our compliance plan, we report bird injuries and fatalities to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. But today, we go beyond simple reporting. Our environmental and geological information systems departments recently collaborated to develop a tool to track and map avian events and nests. The Avian Tracking Tool uses statistics to assign risk levels to line segments and structures on our system. We use this information to identify areas where incidents, including bird fatalities from collisions and electrocutions, occur. With this information, we can plan for appropriate protection measures when designing new projects, rebuilding existing lines or performing maintenance on our system. Overall, these efforts will help reduce the number of avian interactions with our transmission lines and facilities, and in turn help reduce avian caused outages.
ATC works with its construction contractors to plant seed mixes in our transmission line rights-of-way that generate beautiful vegetation beneficial to many species of pollinators.
ATC is using an innovative approach to identify which rights-of-way to distribute the enhanced seed mixes. ATC developed a new geographic information system model to identify right-of-way segments where enhanced seed mixes could help better connect pollinators to their environments.
Helping pollinators is part of ATC’s Grow Smart® program, which provides property owners and communities with suggestions for low-growing, beautiful, compatible vegetation that can be planted in our rights-of-way –a safe distance from transmission lines.