As a part of a regularly scheduled maintenance program, REC clears vegetation from its rights of way approximately every five years. As a follow up to this maintenance, the Cooperative utilizes the selective application of EPA-approved herbicides to target tall-growing trees and shrubs that could cause power outages if left to grow.
The herbicide is applied directly to the leaves of tall-growing trees within our easement by licensed, trained applicators walking the right of way with a backpack sprayer, avoiding application to low-growing vegetation. Trees absorb the herbicide through the leaf surface and distribute it throughout the plant. The herbicide inhibits the growth of the treated tree by disrupting its ability to process essential nutrients and water.
Herbicide applications provide benefits to REC and its members:
- Access to our facilities is greatly improved by eliminating dense brush, reducing the time required to restore service following an outage.
- Reducing small trees on our rights of way allows grasses, ferns, wildflowers, and low-growing shrubs to thrive, providing excellent habitat for wildlife.
The herbicides used by REC are safe and effective. Herbicides will not harm humans, animals, reptiles, birds, insects or aquatic life. The herbicides used by REC are tightly bound to soil particles and will not leach into streams, ponds, ground water, or wells. They are relatively short-lived within the environment and degraded by sunlight and soil microorganisms into innocuous compounds within several months.
The herbicide application process will not affect those customers who have underground electric lines on their property. Also, no herbicides will be applied to lawns, gardens, pastures, croplands or other maintained areas.
Several weeks before the application, REC sends a letter to property owners along the distribution rights of way scheduled for foliar herbicide applications.