Integrated Vegetation Management Program
An essential part of providing safe, reliable service at a reasonable cost is the establishment and maintenance of a clear power line corridor.
Our mission is built around providing reliable electric service to our members. An important part of making that possible is utilizing an integrated vegetation management program to clear right of way.
Trees are the #1 cause of power outages.
Trees can add tremendous value to our homes and communities. Besides being a source of beauty in our landscapes they provide food and shelter for wildlife, cooling for our homes, cleansing of our air and a multitude of other benefits. However, trees growing near power lines present some real challenges. Each year, Arrowhead Cooperative crews do a visual inspection of our power lines to identify areas where tree clearing or trimming may be needed.
Right of way (ROW) refers to a strip of land underneath or around power lines that electric utilities have the right and responsibility to keep clear. The work we do with integrated vegetation management helps keep outages and blinks to a minimum, reduces the potential for the public to come in contact with electric lines, and helps line crews access the line for maintenance and outage restoration.
Scheduled Maintenance Cycles
In 2021, clearing is scheduled for the Lutsen area extending to County Road 7.
Typically, the second growing season after the clearing, we treat the re-sprouting brush in the corridors using selective herbicide treatments. We take the health of our environment and community seriously and the herbicide applications Arrowhead Cooperative uses during this phase are fully compliant with all Environmental Protection Agency regulations and will be applied by licensed professionals. It’s important to note that inhibiting the regrowth of the fast-growing woody vegetation is not only the most effective way to maintain the right-of-way for a longer period of time, but it is also intended to promote the establishment of low growing native species such as grasses, wildflowers, blueberries, and more.
In 2021, selective herbicide treatment is scheduled for the Gunflint Trail area. The herbicides being used in this area are Garlon3A and Polaris. More information about these herbicides can be found in the links below.
Please note: Prior to either initial clearing or herbicide spraying, you will be notified of work being done in your area.
Throughout the year, we perform routine line patrol to ensure the system is working as safely and efficiently as possible. During this line patrol, we often find areas in our service territory that have been affected by storms, dead or dying trees, and those that have grown faster than expected. Trees posing a high risk of affecting the near-by power lines will be recorded to be removed at a later date.
Why Some Trees Need To Be Removed
Fast-growing, tall trees (such as aspen, birch, willows, and balsam fir) located near or directly under primary wires can cause repeated outages. These trees have to be removed for safety and reliability purposes.
How Much Clearance Is Needed?
Trimming seeks to obtain a minimum of five years of clearance. How much clearance is needed depends on the voltage of the wires. With high voltage wires, clearance from the tree to power lines is 40 feet on a three phase line or 30 feet on a single phase line. For secondary and service wire, which are lower voltage, the clearance from the tree to power lines is 10 feet.