Every year brings with it new challenges for those of us in the utility vegetation management (UVM) industry. And part of our mission at the Utility Arborist Association (UAA) is to help you mitigate those challenges and stay focused on enjoying more successes.
So, what were some of the challenges we saw in the past year? We witnessed devastating storms and resulting damage in areas like Joplin, Missouri, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. We experienced severe drought across much of Texas. And beyond just weather-related issues, we are in the advent of new regulatory challenges surrounding National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System regulations, which will impact how we practice UVM, especially “in or near” water. And to top it off, a still-stagnant economy meant another year of flat or declining vegetation management budgets, meaning many of us were still trying to do more with less.
That said, the UAA is working to help utility vegetation managers provide safe and reliable energy.
Are you a utility vice president, director or manager who wonders about the success of your vegetation management program? Would you be surprised to know that if your utility is not practicing ANSI A300 Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) best practices, you are not doing as much as you can to control costs and run a best-in-class, sustainable program?
Well, this special supplement is created to help you answer those questions and more, as well as to educate and inform your organization from the top down.
Each year, the UAA partners with Transmission & Distribution World to create a UVM supplement that contains articles about some of the most innovative ideas and programs in the industry. While the UAA reaches the field and middle managers with its Utility Arborist Newsline publication, this T&D World supplement enables us to reach the upper levels of utility management and help you answer your toughest questions.
Those tasked with implementing a UVM program should possess the skills needed to communicate with the public and regulators on the industry standards for UVM, and also have a well-rounded background in program management, resource management and IVM practices in order to integrate herbicides successfully into your program. Herbicides are a tool that can significantly reduce your future costs, provide environmental benefits, and provide safe and reliable power. You have the chance to improve your UVM program by checking out this T&D World supplement and the UAA website (www.utilityarborist.org).
The UAA is the professional organization that supports industry professionals with things like understanding NERC FAC-003 Part 2 or new regulations from state public utility commissions, and offering help in dealing with public protests over tree pruning. In those areas and more, we're here to assist you. Our new executive director, Phil Charlton, is already off and running in terms of putting together new and improved strategies to further the UAA's mission moving forward.
Another mission of the UAA is the development of valuable industry resources. We've developed best management practices on integrated vegetation management, directional pruning, closed chain of custody with herbicides and tree risk assessment. These best management practices are worthwhile reads and should be considered when putting together your next vegetation management plan.
The UAA is also striving to improve itself every year. So, with that, we are looking to complete and promote our new initiative called the Right-of-Way Steward Accreditation program, which is striving towards excellence in right-of-way management as well as better cooperative efforts with The Nature Conservancy.
If you're not already a member of the UAA, please consider joining. If you're already a member, please consider contributing to one of our many committees or sponsoring one of our successful regional meetings.
I am honored to be a part of such a fine organization. And the UAA team is proud to bring you the articles contained within this supplement. Let's remember to be safe and to seek technical competency in all that we do!
Rich Hendler (firstname.lastname@example.org) is president of the Utility Arborist Association.