Right Of Way Info
Trees that grow or fall into power lines are the greatest threat to service reliability. To protect against outages and ensure our crews can work safely, FBEMC maintains a corridor around the lines called a right-of-way. This corridor spans 20-40 feet on each side of the electrical facilities that deliver electricity to you and your neighbors. Within our service territory, FBEMC maintains over 4,500 miles of distribution line, including over 3,300 overhead miles.
You’ve probably seen our maintenance crews clearing beneath our power lines using chain saws and bush axes. Because keeping the lights on is our primary goal, we are clearing the trees that could grow into the overhead power lines and cause damage and outages. Trees outside the 20 feet limit can also be a threat so they are side trimmed. If trees are dead or leaning heavily toward the electric line, they will also be removed. Unfortunately, after we clear the right-of-way, our job is not complete. Mature root systems remain beneath the surface. These systems will issue root extensions which quickly become new saplings.
FBEMC sets high standards for our sustainable maintenance program and we have found that a right-of-way conversion program is not only more effective, it offers some environmental benefits when compared with constant use of bush hogs and chainsaws. The goal of the conversion program is to use a herbicide to directly attack tree’s root systems, within the R.O.W., so that low growing grasses and shrubs dominate corridor instead.
Is this herbicide solution environmentally friendly?
The products applied (Rodeo & Polaris) affect plant systems but are not metabolized by humans and other mammals.
The need to constantly cut and mow is minimized. The resulting low growing plants establish a permanent habitat for wildlife in the right-of-way. This new habitat is especially suitable for quail, wild turkey, and other ground-nesting birds.
The herbicide is applied onto each plant with a backpack sprayer, rather than through less precise methods.
The use of Rodeo and Polaris is considered safe for birds, fish, and honeybees.
Unlike petroleum products, Rodeo and Polaris do not leach into groundwater. Any spray that falls to the ground bonds to the upper layer of soil, and stays there until it becomes inert.
Rodeo and Polaris are commonly used to battle non-native water plants that can invade and overrun fishponds, lakes, and streams.