2012-2013 Citizenship & Sustainability Report

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Biodiversity & Habitat Protection

Biodiversity & Habitat Protection

The protection of species and habitats on the lands, rights-of-way, and waterways around our facilities is an integral part of Dominion’s commitment to responsible environmental stewardship.

Avian and Wildlife Protection

Dominion’s avian and wildlife protection program is widely regarded as one of the industry’s best. We have received several National Conservation Service Awards from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for our efforts to protect birds from adverse power line impacts.

Dominion was one of the original parties of APLIC (Avian Powerline Interaction Committee), a global leader in providing guidance to utilities on minimizing harm to bird populations. These guidelines help reduce costly power outages while also providing compliance with laws protecting birds.

Some other examples of our ecosystem conservation initiatives and partnerships include the following:

  • The Center for Conservation Biology Partnership. With the bald eagle population in Virginia steadily growing, the competition for nesting sites and resources is also increasing. One such nesting site is located on a Dominion transmission structure in central Virginia. With Dominion’s assistance, the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary is studying this nest using video recording equipment installed by Dominion employees. Monitoring of the nest will improve understanding of bald eagle behavior and population dynamics in Virginia.
  • Cove Point Beach Restoration. In cooperation with various regulatory, environmental and community groups, Dominion helped rebuild a buffer zone separating the Chesapeake Bay and a freshwater marsh using native grasses and plants. The freshwater marsh provides habitats for many rare plants and animals because of its geographical location. Dominion and the University of Maryland are monitoring the repair and the overall health of the marsh, which involves measuring salinity levels, dissolved oxygen and the tracking of Phragmites, an invasive plant species.
  • Roanoke River Fish Restoration. Dominion is involved in a long term study of “diadromous” fish populations in the Roanoke River, North Carolina. Diadromous fish, such as American shad and striped bass, generally live in the ocean and return to freshwater rivers to spawn; or like American eels, they live in rivers and migrate to the ocean to spawn.

Wildlife Preservation

Dominion works with the Keystone Elk Country Alliance and the Pennsylvania Game Commission to help create safe havens and grazing areas for the elk and deer, which has resulted in a tripling of the herds. We also host an annual “elk tour” for state legislators to showcase the project. The tour is held in conjunction with a Dominion employee volunteer workday in support of various elk conservation projects in the area.

Rare Plant Protection

Since 1995, Dominion has supported the Natural Heritage Program of the Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation. The program is intended to preserve the state’s biodiversity through inventory, ecosystem protection and stewardship. Dominion has teamed with the VDCR to conduct surveys of “Threatened and Endangered” (T&E) plants and other rare plants found in open-canopy environments located on the company’s electric transmission and distribution rights-of-way. These areas have been found to harbor 76 T&E and rare plant species and were revisited in 2012 to document their overall health. To support the sustainability of these rare plant species, the team of scientists has incorporated special vegetation management practices at each location.

Land Conservation

Dominion donated 477 acres of unique ecological habitat called Bear Rocks to The Nature Conservancy of West Virginia. The land, located adjacent to the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, will be used in perpetuity for conservation purposes.

We are also partnering with The Public Land Trust to purchase and preserve a 122-acre waterfront area near Virginia Beach, Va., called Pleasure House Point. The area provides rare public green space and the opportunity to experience shoreline habitat, wetlands and maritime forest that is home to many species of birds and marine life.

Partnerships

Cove Point Marsh Restoration

American shad tracking study

A Dominion biologist inserts an acoustic tag into an American Shad as part of a tracking study conducted on the Roanoke River, N.C.