BPA supports the creation of the Bee Better certification for electric power companies.
BPA’s Chuck Sheppard, supervisor to the Natural Resource Specialist group, serves on the committee and provides his expertise on vegetation management of utility right-of-ways.
You may be thinking, this is great, but what does this have to do with BPA? Well, BPA has been a member of the non-profit Electric Power Research Institute’s organization since 2018 and has recently worked with EPRI and the Xerces Society to create a Bee Better Certification program for electric power companies. The program would be a third-party verified, science-based certification for electric power right-of-ways, substations, energy storage facilities, solar sites and other electric power land assets to verify that the vegetation on these lands is managed to support pollinator conservation.
EPRI created an advisory committee to review and summarize research on Integrative Vegetation Management practices and identify Bee Better Certification criteria. BPA’s Chuck Sheppard, supervisor to the Natural Resource Specialist group, serves on the committee and provides his expertise on vegetation management of utility right-of-ways.
The primary goals of the Bee Better Certification for electric power companies is to:
- Advance a credible, effective, measurable, voluntary and achievable level of pollinator conservation actions.
- Launch a certification program that can grow, adapt and change to meet industry needs.Apply the best available science to ensure that pollinator conservation is well defined and measured by a set of mutually agreed upon criteria that can be objectively applied to projects.
The release of the Bee Better Certification criteria is expected in winter 2023. Once published, next steps include development of third party groups to conduct audits and issue certifications to applicants. The potential benefits of the Bee Better Certification for electric power companies and pollinators are many. For pollinators, the benefits include the creation of habitat connectivity corridors in areas where prior development has fragmented wildlife habitat, such as urban areas. It could also stabilize pollinator populations that are in decline and reduce the need for future endangered species listings. For electric power companies, there could be an overall reduction of herbicide application and maintenance activities where vegetation in right-of-ways is managed for pollinator conservation. Increasing pollinator habitat can also improve the public perception of utility right-of-ways where they serve a dual purpose of transmitting electricity and providing habitat. Above all, the Bee Better Certification label will display voluntary environmental stewardship based on rigorous standards and has national recognition.
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