Earlier this month I met with representatives of Con Ed to discuss Con Ed’s tree removal policy. A major concern was the tree clearing on Sprain/Ridge Road–which has changed the character of the community. Con Ed agreed to replace trees cut on town property with low growing trees. They will not replace trees cut on property that is not town owned.
The following is a statement that Con Ed sent to me that addresses their tree removal policy.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor
- Con Edison's transmission lines are part of a critical infrastructure which supply electric power to the entire region. Vegetation around transmission lines is therefore managed differently than around distribution lines. Generally, all vegetation with the potential to grow tall enough to jeopardize the safe and reliable operation of transmission lines is removed from the right-of-way during treatment cycles.
- In removing tall growing vegetation from the transmission right-of-way, we create an ecosystem in which shorter growing grasses, forbs, shrubs, and other low growing vegetation are given a competitive advantage to proliferate, creating an early-succession or "old-field" habitat which is both compatible with electric transmission, and beneficial to wildlife. This is allowed to occur naturally. Replanting is not done on the right-of-way.
- Con Edison is developing a website link that will describe both the transmission and distribution vegetation management programs. This link will be provided to Aaron Schmidt when it comes on line in a week or so.
- Vegetation Management around Con Edison's transmission lines is performed in accordance with orders and guidance issued by Federal, State, and industry authorities, much of which came into effect as a result of the major blackout of August 2003.
- When work is planned for an area, adjacent landowners are pre-notified by distribution of a 3x5 notification card which summarizes the work and provides a contact phone number. Plans are reviewed in detail with individual landowners who request it. Municipal contacts are also informed. As a result of this meeting, the Greenburgh Environmental Planner/Forestry Officer will be added to our list of municipal contacts.
- All of the trees removed in the Ridge Roadarea had the potential to adversely affect the transmission lines. The majority of these trees were on the right-of-way. Some were on Town property. Con Edison and Greenburgh will work together over the next few weeks to evaluate other Town trees in this area which threaten the lines, and will arrange for the planting of low growing compatible vegetation on Town property in exchange for any Town trees that were removed or will be removed in this area.