Your internet browser is not using current security protocols.
This will soon affect your ability to use the ISA website.
To update your security protocols, turn on TLS 1.2 in Advanced settings or contact your system administrator.
ISA Logo
About ISA  •  Find an Arborist  •  Newsroom  •  Job Bank  •  Contact Us  •  LOGIN
Join ISA
    What Tree is That?
    ISA Members: $14.95
    Non-Members: $19.95
    Price in US Dollars

    Climbers' CornerTree Academy

    Urban Wildlife Sanctuary along an Electric Transmission Right-of-Way: A Successful Partnership and IVM Demonstration


    Successful implementation of Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) requires cooperation with stakeholders along rights-of-way. This paper describes a long term cooperative relationship between an electric utility and the Massachusetts Audubon Society (MAS). In the 1960’s National Grid’s predecessor company, New England Power (NEP), acquired land for a powerline in the City of Worcester, Massachusetts. The landlocked wooded land was of such low value the utility bought the right-of-way and the parcels of land it traversed–some 150 acres. As later development occurred, this land and other abutting properties became an accidental wilderness within Worcester. In the 1980’s, the MAS established a resource office in Worcester and began to look for opportunities to develop an urban wildlife sanctuary and environmental education center. Review of remaining open spaces in the city revealed an opportunity for a significant area to be conserved that included the powerline right-of-way. Following negotiations, a lease agreement between MAS and NEP was signed in 1991.

    NEP manages the corridor utilizing IVM principles, including the selective use of herbicides. The resulting plant community is primarily little blue stem grass, forbs, and low growing shrubs. This habitat contributes to the presence of several early successional habitat birds and butterflies. IVM  site evaluation principles were applied to meet MAS goals. As a result, the sanctuary boasts the largest butterfly species count of any Massachusetts Audubon Sanctuary 78 different types of butterflies can be found. In 2006 NEP and MAS constructed interpretive kiosks to describe principles of IVM and the habitat and wildlife present in the powerline corridor.  The partnership provides a great opportunity to showcase IVM.

    Conference Proceedings Documents


    Thomas E. Sullivan, Senior Consultant at Energy Initiatives Group, a northeast-based energy infrastructure consulting firm. Tom Sullivan has 30 plus years of electric utility experience as an employee and consultant to National Grid and its predecessor companies. For most of his career he managed the Transmission Forestry Department. His most recent position was Director of Transmission Investment Management.

    Tom holds a master’s degree in biology from Boston University and a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse. He is an ISA Certified Arborist and Massachusetts Licensed Forester.

    Tom is active in professional organizations and currently serves as a Director of the Utility Arborist Association. He received the Utility Arborist Award from this organization in 2004. He was on the planning committee for ROW in 2008. Outside of professional work Tom is President of a local Land Trust, has served on local park advisory committees for 30 plus years.

    Climbers' CornerTree Academy

    ©International Society of Arboriculture 2009-2018
    PO Box 3129 • Champaign, IL 61826, USA • +1.217.355.9411

    Email comments and questions to ISA
    Tuesday, January 16, 2018 1:29:34 PM (CST/ISA Headquarters Time)
    Please click here to view our privacy policy.