Eversource Partners with Wildlife Agency for Turtle Conservation

June 4, 2021
Energy company provides training to vegetation management crews to protect endangered turtles while maintaining a reliable electric system.

As part of if its efforts to provide safe, reliable service while being responsible environmental stewards, Eversource’s yearly turtle protection program dubbed “Turtle-Palooza!” is a comprehensive program designed to train the energy company’s crews in locating and protecting endangered turtles living in the company’s transmission rights of way. The event returned to  Agawam for a full day of training with wildlife experts on how to spot, track and move endangered turtles safely a few hundred feet away from the area where they are working, as well as some help from a specially trained turtle-sniffing dog.

“We take our role to provide safe, reliable service to our customers while being responsible environmental stewards very seriously, and our annual ‘Turtle-palooza!’ training is another example of our commitment to those efforts,” said Eversource Vice President for Sustainability and Environmental Affairs Catherine Finneran. “By keeping the growth low underneath the power lines to ensure the reliable delivery of electricity, we’ve been able to create suitable, niche habitat throughout the right-of-way, where some rare species of turtles are thriving. That’s why we work every year to train our vegetation management staff and contractors to search and remove these turtles before mowing or rolling any heavy equipment into their habitats.”

 Dozens of contractors and Eversource employees joined experts from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and learned to track Painted, Eastern Box and Wood turtles that are especially fond of the clearings under Eversource’s electrical equipment as a habitat to live and breed. Twenty turtles were located in the right of way in about an hour.

 “By mowing rights of way on a periodic basis Eversource is not only keeping lines clear for utility purposes, but also creating excellent habitat for rare upland turtles like the eastern box turtle as well as other wildlife that thrive in brushy, open young forests, “said Lauren Glorioso, MassWildlife Endangered Species Review Biologist.  “Today’s training gives vegetation management crews the skills needed to find turtles and move them out of the way before mowing. It’s a win-win for energy and rare species conservation.”

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