Exelon | Unearthing the Benefits of IVM

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What began as two pilot sites for Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) implementation on BGE rights-of-way (ROWs) has flourished into a program providing quality native habitat for wildlife, learning opportunities for the community, and serving as a model for other BGE ROWs.

[do_widget id=fpw_widget-2 title=false]In 2009, the BGE Rights-of-Way Environmental Stewardship Program identified two sites in Maryland—the South River site and Columbia site—to begin testing various vegetation management methods to determine the ones most effective in benefitting native wildlife while also reducing the interference of tall vegetation with electrical transmission. The team experienced much success with the control of invasive vegetation such as Japanese honeysuckle, tree-of-heaven, autumn olive, multiflora rose, and mile-a-minute vine.

Birds, bees, butterflies, and native plant communities all thrive following implementation of IVM.

Scientific monitoring of the pilot areas provides important insights into baseline conditions prior to IVM and how the plant and animal communities changed over time. These studies contribute to the scientific knowledge about managing the natural communities that occur along ROWs and how they can benefit from IVM practices.

For example, a study of the response of native bees conducted in partnership with the USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Laboratory revealed improvements in native bee diversity following implementation of IVM at the Columbia site. Similar studies have shown positive outcomes in butterfly, bird, and plant populations in response to IVM compared to traditional mowing regimes. Using multiple outlets, including scientific journals and conferences, the team shares the results of these studies to educate the public about the benefits of IVM, and promote the development of industry standards for IVM.

The BGE Rights-of-Way Environmental Stewardship Program integrates several notable features that make it a hallmark of successful conservation programs, including:

  • Building strong support for the program within the community, utilizing meetings and offering other educational opportunities for community members to engage with the company.
  • Enlisting knowledgeable partners to provide key expertise in successfully implementing IVM along the ROWs.
  • Conducting follow-up monitoring to see if the plant and animal communities in the project areas responded favorably to IVM.

By using IVM to control invasive species and tall-growing trees, and allowing natural competition between species to take place, the team effectively encourages native habitats that support both wildlife and industry needs.

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Quick Facts

Site Name:BGE Rights-of-Way Environmental Stewardship Program
Category:Member Spotlight
Tags:avian, grasslands, Integrated Vegetation Management, invasive species, pollinators, wetlands
Site Locations:Columbia, Maryland, Davidsonville, Maryland
Certification Since:2011
WHC Index Link:View Project
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