The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is asking for input from the public on proposed alternatives for vegetation management activities on its transmission rights of way during fiscal years 2022 and 2023. A Draft Environmental Assessment is available for public review and comment here. Comments are due by August 6.
TVA’s recommended action is Alternative B. TVA would use an Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) approach to promote the establishment of a meadow-like environment along its ROWs with vegetation that does not interfere with the safe and reliable operation of the transmission system.
An IVM approach for vegetation management considers the overall, long-term effect on public health and safety, reliability of electricity transmission, environmental stewardship and cost. Activities include herbicide applied selectively to unwanted vegetation and mechanical and manual vegetation removal.
Specifically, TVA said its IVM approach would entail removing incompatible vegetation and managing the ROW as a mix of herbaceous and low-growing shrub. Vegetation management would utilize mostly herbicides (90%). Other methods include mechanical (6% – i.e., brush hogs, equipment mounted saws) and manual (4% – i.e., chainsaw, handsaw). Maintenance of trees would be assessed using aerial inspection, ground inspections, and as-needed field inspections. Trees identified as a risk to the transmission system reliability would be removed while compatible trees and shrubs would be allowed in areas actively maintained by others.
Failure to address vegetation clearance and management of brush, downed vegetation and small trees could result in wildfires, major power outages, and injury to life or property.