Maintaining tall-growing vegetation that impedes right-of-way (ROW) accessibility and interferes with utility infrastructure is an essential practice for vegetation management programs throughout the industry and across the country. But when program funding is limited, many programs struggle to effectively address incompatible brush and plant species from one year to the next.
Research has shown that, while traditional control methods — like mechanized mowing or trimming — provide short-term relief from unwanted vegetation, they often create re-treatment requirements, increase maintenance costs and jeopardize safety throughout utility rights-of-way and adjacent ecosystems.
When a 2009 storm in southwestern Illinois ravaged ROW corridors managed by Egyptian Electric Cooperative, the consumer-owned corporation discovered that the ensuing destruction had rendered many of its utility sites inaccessible. The need for a more sustainable solution to controlling unwanted trees and brush was never more apparent, which is why the co-op chose to enhance its mowing results by integrating selective herbicide applications as a part of its vegetation management program. Making this adjustment provided multiple benefits, including:
- Reduction in mowing treatment requirements and maintenance costs
- Support for the development of native plant communities
- Enhanced worksite safety and accessibility
After assessing these benefits, as well as projected labor costs and field-tested results, the co-op’s board of directors decided to double its vegetation management budget in 2010.
To read the full story on Egyptian Electric, and to learn how the use of effective products like Vastlan® herbicide from Corteva Agriscience have helped the co-op optimize control of incompatible vegetation throughout approximately 500 miles of utility rights-of-way to increase cost-efficiency, ROW safety and environmental sustainability, click here.
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