LG&E and KU work to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth through programs and partnerships that protect the air, land and waters our ecosystems need to survive. We are protecting biodiversity and promoting environmental stewardship in a number of ways:
Providing Shelter for the Peregrine Falcon — In cooperation with local and state wildlife agencies, LG&E and KU have placed wooden platforms, known as "nesting boxes," at several generation facilities. The boxes provide potential nesting sites for peregrine falcons.
Peregrine falcons, once on the brink of extinction, are making a big comeback in Kentucky thanks, in part, to the dedication of employees at many LG&E and KU facilities who ensure nesting boxes provide a safe setting for the birds to prosper.
In fact, nearly 40 peregrine falcons have been banded at LG&E and KU locations since 2007.
The crevices and alcoves of power plants remind the falcons of their natural nesting environment on mountain cliffs and ledges in the West. The plant setting also offers an all-you-can-eat supply of pigeons and other prey.
Many LG&E and KU power plants are home to active nesting boxes that have been in service for a number of years, adding to the Commonwealth's thriving peregrine population.
LG&E and KU's nesting box initiative is another innovative way the utilities are protecting and preserving Kentucky's natural resources.
Avian Protection Plan Enhances System Reliability — To further protect birds from the risk of electrocution or collision with LG&E and KU facilities and enhance system reliability, the utilities have adopted an Avian Protection Plan. Bird mortalities can occur when a bird simultaneously touches two conductor wires or one conductor and a ground wire, which can lead to disruption of service to customers.
Developed with input from departments across the lines of business, LG&E and KU's method for avian protection uses a comprehensive approach:
- Complying with laws that protect birds and nests;
- Using preventive bird-safe methods for newly constructed or rebuilt lines and other electrical equipment in areas with high bird risk;
- Tracking and documenting all bird mortalities and at-risk nest sites so that remedial actions can be identified and fixed;
- Undertaking risk assessments of existing lines and structures;
- Participating in bird protection programs and research; and
- Providing employee training on bird protection issues and procedures.
LG&E and KU are committed to balancing sound environmental policy with excellent customer service and system reliability. The Avian Protection Plan is a prime example of how environmental protection and cost-effective business practices are compatible.
Several departments across LG&E and KU worked as a team with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other state agencies to deliver a sensible plan.
Supporting Raptor Rehab — As an extension of LG&E and KU's avian protection program, the companies provide support to Raptor Rehab, a non-profit organization that rehabilitates injured raptors, raises orphaned birds of prey, and increases public awareness about the importance of raptors.
As a token of appreciation to LG&E and KU for the companies' pledged support of a golden eagle, Raptor Rehab asked utility employees to name the rescued raptor, which has been in captivity for more than 18 years due to a wing amputation.
Found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, the Golden Eagle is common in western North America, but rare in the East. It is one of the largest birds of prey in North America; only the Bald Eagle and California Condor get larger.
Assisting with Research Project for Endangered Indiana Bat — LG&E is supporting research intended to help boost the population of the endangered Indiana bat through installing artificial roosting structures at Fort Knox. The project is a coordinated partnership that includes Copperhead Environmental Consulting, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Fort Knox and LG&E.
LG&E employees erected 10 utility poles at Fort Knox that will be used as monitoring stations for wildlife officials to more easily observe how female Indiana bats form maternity colonies in which to raise their young.
The project location is already home to multiple "roost trees" which have been fitted with artificial bark and used for Indiana bat maternity colonies for several years.
The utility poles have been fitted with artificial bark to supplement and eventually replace the existing roost trees over time. Bats have already been observed utilizing the structures. In fact, more than 150 bats were counted emerging from just one of the installed poles. Over the long-term, should the research prove successful, the implications will be wide-ranging in terms of conservation, research, management, regulation and mitigation for the species.
Reforesting the Bluegrass — We have offered free tree seedlings to customers since 1981, giving away more than 750,000 seedlings during that time. The company also participates in the Reforest the Bluegrass program and has donated more than $20,000 during the past 10 years.
The giveaway program supports our advice on planting trees — Right Tree, Right Place. Planting the right tree in the right place is important because the proper location helps keep limbs away from electric lines as the tree matures and reduces the possibility of outages. The seedlings we give away include redbuds and a variety of dogwoods — trees that are power-line friendly.
Falling tree limbs on lines is a major cause of power outages. Planting seedlings in the proper location also provides shade for houses which, over the long term, helps reduce energy costs.
Encouraging the Growth of Native Plants — LG&E and KU have surveyed hundreds of miles of electric transmission rights-of-way in its service territory and identified populations of native flowers and grasses. Certain utility rights-of-way have been found to provide ecological conditions that allow native species to thrive, and maintenance practices are in place to help facilitate their growth. We also participate in the reintroduction of native grasses and wildflowers within its service territory.
Removing Debris from the Ohio River Banks — In 1995, the company became a corporate sponsor of the Ohio River Sweep. Since that time, volunteers across a multi-state region have removed thousands of tons of litter and debris from the banks of the Ohio River. In addition to the company's financial support, a large group of company volunteers participate in the River Sweep each year.
Beautifying Statewide Nonprofit, Public Park Facilities — Good deeds meet community needs each year when hundreds of LG&E and KU employees and their family members fan out across the state to participate in improvement activities as part of the companies' annual Day of Caring. The Day of Caring is the pinnacle event of LG&E's and KU's annual Power of One Campaign that began in 2005. The Power of One Campaign is an annual employee giving program that has raised more than $11 million to support more than 27 nonprofit organizations throughout the LG&E and KU service territories.
Recycling Old Electronic Equipment — LG&E and KU employees collected more than 82,000 pounds of old electronic equipment from home and work for recycling during two "E-Cycle" events held at various offices, operations centers, generating stations and other locations company wide.
Employees dropped off old computers, printers, TVs, radios, CDs and DVDs, stereos, cable boxes, electronic cords and even garage-door remotes among other items. They drove vans, pickup trucks and SUVs filled with materials to drop-off sites throughout both campaigns.
A regional recycling company, 2TRG, collected all items for recycling. LG&E and KU launched the campaigns as another step to keep our environment safe and clean. Old electronic equipment contains toxins which could be harmful to human health and our environment if released into surrounding eco-systems.
Creating More Energy Efficient Communities — Through initiatives such as Empower Lexington and Partnership for a Green City in Louisville, LG&E and KU are collaborating with stakeholders to help the communities they serve use energy more wisely.