Garry Oaks Make the Cut- and don't get cut!
by Mason PUD 3 on
September 16, 2016
BPA tree crews preserve unique Garry Oak trees during their Shelton maintenance work.
A small grove of Garry Oak trees stand strong in the shadow of a BPA transmission tower.
BPA's forest crews left Garry Oak trees along the transmission line rigt of way during their recent clearing project due to its unique place in teh south Puget Sound prairie ecosystem.
Keep growing, Old Oak!
Local contractor, Bob Watson of Watson Construction Company (Shelton, WA) used his wheeled harvester on the job.
Several Western Red Cedar trees also survived the culling.
A Western Red Cedar continues its path to the sky in a corridor between two transmission right of ways.
BPA crews will maintain a 25-foot safety zone between the highest point the vegetation will potentially grow and the lowest point the power line will sag under extreme conditions. Sometimes, even though a tree is outside the right-of-way boundary, BPA crews will remove any growth that comes within the 25-foot clearance zone or remove the tree if it’s unstable and likely to topple over on the power line.
READING TIME: 3 minutes
In a big city like Seattle or Portland, noticeable changes to a familiar skyline usually come in the form of a new sky scraper. Here in Mason County, changes to our skyline are often a result of logging!
Folks passing through the north end of Shelton may have been startled by new views recently, as the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) works to remove trees that pose a danger to the high voltage transmission lines in the area.
BPA’S CORRIDOR TREE PROJECT
This summer, BPA performed tree clearing on about 12 acres in the north Shelton area, from Highway 101 to Batstone Cutoff.
BPA contract staff forester (and Mason County resident), Rob Hoff, says, “The trees in this project were remnant from the original right-of-way clearing and are sandwiched between two corridors, technically 'C-Trees' (Corridor Trees), and thus mandated removal. The intent of the project is to remove all tall growing species such as Douglas-fir and Lodgepole pine that could pose a threat to the power lines.”
The revenue generated from the timber and pulp sales covered about 50% of the operational cost for the project, according to Hoff. Local contractor, Watson Construction Company, was selected to perform the tree removal work.
GARRY OAKS & THE SOUTH SOUND PRAIRIE ECOSYSTEM
BPA and PUD 3 are both public power utilities. As such, we are driven by a strong sense of stewardship and social responsibility. We consider the short-term and long-term impacts of our activities on the environment, economy, and individuals. One of the ways this was evident is through BPA’s handling of the Garry Oak tree in the project area.
The Garry Oak is a slow-growing oak tree found in the southern Puget Sound region and is a critical piece of the sparse prairie ecosystem. They also chose to leave several young Western Red Cedar trees that don’t pose a threat to the power lines. These trees will be monitored on future vegetation patrols by BPA staff foresters.
Local Mason County Disc Golfers are also thankful that BPA spared a section of “C-Trees” that provide shelter and interest for the basket on hole 7 and the tee pads on hole at 8 at the Shelton Springs Disc Golf Course, which is the number one rated course in Washington.
TREE TRIMMING INCREASES RELIABILITY
Like BPA, Mason PUD 3 works to maintain a reliable electricity distribution and transmission system by managing vegetation that grows in or around the right-of-way. PUD 3 has two full-time tree crews and one seasonal contract crew which works to trim the trees along all major power lines on a six-year cycle. This practice helped PUD 3 to be named the very first diamond-level Reliable Public Power Provider in Washington, as designated by the American Public Power Association. Good tree management not only reduces the number of outages, but also helps us to restore power more quickly during storm situations.
BPA crews will maintain a 25-foot safety zone between the highest point the vegetation will potentially grow and the lowest point the power line will sag under extreme conditions. Sometimes, even though a tree is outside the right-of-way boundary, BPA crews will remove any growth that comes within the 25-foot clearance zone or remove the tree if it’s unstable and likely to topple over on the power line. PUD 3 uses a similar policy, but reduces the clearance zone to 10-feet on our distribution lines.
You can report trees that appear to be a hazard to power lines at www.pud3.org/trees.
BROCKDALE TREE CLEARING
Please note that this project is unrelated to the tree clearing that is occurring on Brockdale Road by the City of Shelton. In that area, the tree roots were causing damage to the road and walkway.