Cooperative agreement will foster programs to support wildlife populations and promote biodiversity on AEP-owned lands and transmission rights of way.
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 19, 2009 – American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) has agreed to become a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) Energy for Wildlife program. As part of the program, AEP and NWTF will work cooperatively to identify, develop and implement programs to enhance the environment and habitat for a number of wildlife species on AEP-owned lands and transmission rights of way.
The agreement covers approximately 60,000 acres of AEP-owned land and segments of existing transmission rights of way throughout AEP´s 11-state service territory, stretching from Michigan to Texas.
NWTF’s Energy for Wildlife program helps utilities manage rights of way and other properties to provide ideal habitat for a variety of wildlife species, including wild turkeys, that are at risk from loss of open habitat. The Energy for Wildlife staff works directly with utility companies to develop and implement wildlife management and educational programs.
“We have worked with the National Wild Turkey Federation on individual wildlife habitat projects for decades, so our participation in the more comprehensive Energy for Wildlife program is a natural extension of that relationship,” said Susan Tomasky, president - AEP Transmission. “Wildlife habitat programs are particularly beneficial on transmission rights of way. They provide enhanced feeding and nesting environments for at-risk wildlife species and offer a natural way to help manage the vegetation growth around our transmission facilities, reducing the amount of manual trimming and herbicide application necessary to maintain our lines and ensure reliable electricity service.”
As part of the agreement, AEP and NWTF will develop property owner management plans and food plot planting plans to enhance habitat and promote biodiversity on transmission rights of way and other AEP-owned land. The company also will collaborate with NWTF to develop tools, programs and educational materials explaining AEP’s wildlife habitat and land management practices. Additionally, AEP will host two outreach events each year through NWTF’s Wheelin’ Sportsmen and youth outdoor programs. The Wheelin´ Sportsmen program provides people with disabilities the opportunity to participate in outdoor activities, including hunting and fishing. AEP currently hosts a Wheelin’ Sportsmen hunting event in Ohio. A second event focused on youth will be established in east Texas.
"Energy companies who enroll in Energy for Wildlife are not only helping to meet America´s energy needs, but the needs of its wildlife as well," said James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D., NWTF´s chief conservation officer. "Through the program, American Electric Power and the NWTF are helping to protect and enhance a diverse array of wildlife habitat nationwide."
The National Wild Turkey Federation is a national nonprofit conservation and hunting organization that, along with its volunteers, partners and sponsors, has worked for the conservation of the wild turkey and preservation of the hunting tradition.
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.