Plant Conservation Programs of the Georgia Power Company

Jim Ozier, Environmental Specialist, Environmental and Natural Resources, Georgia Power Company

The Georgia Power Company is an investor-owned utility that generates, delivers, and markets electricity throughout most of the state. The company is one of the state’s largest private landowners; conservation attributes of these lands include a refuge for the world’s only population of Georgia alder (Alnus maritima georgiensis) and federally designated Critical Habitat for Georgia rockcress (Arabis georgiana). Georgia Power also manages the vegetation on thousands of miles of powerline corridors to ensure safe and reliable power delivery. This is generally accomplished through an integrated approach of mowing every 6 years and targeted backpack spraying of woody encroachment every 2 years inbetween. Incidentally this maintains valuable open habitat needed by many grasses and forbs. Sites known to harbor rare species are designated for management using only hand tools as needed. Examples include several pitcherplant (Sarracenia spp.) bogs and habitat for the federally endangered hairy rattleweed (Baptisia arachnifera). Additionally, Georgia Power is a partner in a Candidate Conservation Agreement for the Georgia aster (Symphyotrichum georgianum) and conducts surveys, monitoring, and special management for this species, which appears to be doing well on company lands and rights-of-way.