CenterPoint Energy’s Vegetation Management group works proactively to increase customer reliability and our operational efficiencies.
The Vegetation Management group uses industry best practices to manage trees and brush that grow around our right of way throughout our service area. Mowing, tree trimming and ground clearing allow for emergency response access, corrosion protection, routine maintenance access and third-party damage prevention. CenterPoint Energy forester and vegetation management contractors work closely with our Environmental department to carefully manage maintenance activities near active bird nests. The group also assesses needs for tree trimming near power lines, prepares work maps and manages tree-trimming contractors.
CenterPoint Energy was named a 2022 Tree Line USA company for the 16th consecutive year by the Arbor Day Foundation for our dedication to proper tree pruning, planting and caring throughout our service area. Tree Line USA, which is a partnership between the Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters, recognizes public and private utilities for pursuing practices that protect and enhance America’s urban trees.
As part of our Right Tree Right Place program, we provide height-appropriate shrubs and plants to customers to replace trees that have been removed for proper electric distribution line clearance. We also distribute milkweed seedlings to our residential customers through the program.
Goats Aid CenterPoint Energy Restoration Project
Since 2001, CenterPoint Energy has been working on a long-term prairie restoration project at the Dakota Station Peak Shaving facility, located along the Minnesota River Valley in Burnsville, Minnesota. On much of this property, non-native invasive plants, such as buckthorn and other shrubs, trees and weeds, have taken over the natural plants, grasses and wildflowers indigenous to the area. We have partnered with volunteers, nonprofit organizations, contractors and a company called Prairie Restorations to remove certain trees, shrubs and plants via cutting, burning, spraying, planting, seed collecting and propagation.
CenterPoint Energy has been using a nontraditional resource in the fight against invasive plants and shrubs… goats.
Goat Dispatch, a company located in Faribault, Minnesota, was hired in 2019 to develop a site-specific grazing plan, utilizing grazing goats to control terrestrial invasive species. The goats have made significant progress – not only do they eat the buckthorn leaves, but they also eat the bark. When the bark is chewed off the buckthorn shrubs, it weakens the plant and eventually kills it. The University of Minnesota discovered that goats are very effective at destroying buckthorn seeds when they eat the fruits and pose very little dispersal risk.