Monday, January 11, 2010

Top 5 Required Actions/Fixes for Distribution Line Clearing Projects

Core goal is to release a “model” ROW Code module (based upon Greenburgh 260A) for adoption by regional municipalities which outlines the rights of public & private landowners as well as the responsibilities of utilities such as Con Ed in regards to the distribution line right-of-way. Includes mandatory requirements for notification, consultation, stump removal and replanting or restitution by the utility.

1. Communication (public and private trees)
  • Advanced notification with description of intended work (pruning & removals).
  • Contact information to arrange on-site consultations.
  • Written description of agreed upon work – shared with owner and with work crew(s).
  • Second opinion by means of Con Ed Senior Arborist.
  • Daily street-by-street “target list” announcement (to municipality).
2. Restoration & Restitution (the three “R”s)
  • Removal (of stumps)
  • Re-plant
  • Remuneration (if unable to replant).
  • Appropriate canopy and eco-service restoration (e.g. do not replant with shrubs in lieu of removed hardwoods). Site factors to address include aesthetic damage due to excessive pruning, privacy impact, property value reduction, noise abatement, habitat loss, stormwater mitigation, viewshed.
3. Oversight
  • Certified arborist on-site at all times. (Municipal arborist paid for by Con Ed?)
  • Follow-up survey of work, tree-by-tree, block-by-block immediately after associated work zone completed.
  • Problem resolution process for homeowners or municipalities, including arbitration and restitution.
  • Escalation List developed with municipality and publicly announced / documented. Should function 7x24 (i.e.; weekends & evenings included).
  • Immediate ‘Stop Work’ procedures and resolution process.
4. Training
  • ISA-certified arborist for on-site consultations and supervising all work crews.
  • Contractor crew training (including: proper pruning, improper pruning, minimal wood removal, behavior to public, stop work procedure, etc.)
  • Work not based on quantity of removal, but quality.
  • Follow-up evaluation of work & immediate on-site retraining, as required.
5. Education
  • “Right tree in the right place.” (Don’t plant an Oak under the wires!)
  • Municipal and homeowner responsibility to prune trees near or within ROW on an annual basis (not waiting for Con Ed cycle…)
  • Public meetings before and after municipal line clearing work to determine overall impact and actual execution of project.

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