VELCO is committed to protecting the health and safety of our employees and the environment of Vermont. VELCO’s policy is to reduce or eliminate waste, conserve energy and natural resources, practice and promote recycling, and avoid or reduce the use of toxic products. We are committed to serve as sound environmental stewards who meet or exceed regulatory requirements. In our construction and maintenance practices we strive to incorporate state-of-the-art resource protection measures as we continuously seek to lessen the company’s impacts on the local and global environment.
VELCO strives to maintain its transmission corridors in an environmentally sound manner which promotes habitat for Vermont’s wildlife and benefits its rare flora and fauna.
Osprey nesting program
VELCO has been involved with protecting and creating safe osprey nests since the early 1990s. Our crews have constructed successful nesting platforms at Colchester Pond in Colchester, at the Sand Bar Wildlife Management Area in Milton, in winter of 2005 near Lake Memphremagog and on the shore of South Slang in Ferrisburg.
The photos below show a special project in which VELCO dismantled an existing nest and relocated it on a new nesting platform erected especially for this breeding pair.
VELCO receives first Right-of-Way Steward accreditation
VELCO's vegetation management program is officially accredited as a Right-of-Way Steward for sustainable integrated vegetation management. VELCO is recognized with the Right-of-Way Steward Founder's Award for leadership in receiving one of the first two Right of Way Stewardship Council's accreditations globally.
VELCO honored for wildlife habitat work
VELCO participated in the Northern Forest Woodcock Initiative, a wildlife habitat improvement project on the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge in Northern Essex County. In an effort to assist the National Wildlife Refuge, VELCO revitalized the woodcock habitat adjacent to our transmission right of way. The first phase of the 20-year program began with the clearing of approximately 26 acres of land within the refuge, under the direction of the USFWS Biologists & Foresters. Visit Timberdoodle.Org for more information about this effort.
GPS application helps VELCO protect natural & cultural resources
As part of the natural resource assessments performed for VELCO projects, special resources are located in the field by VELCO environmental team scientists and environmental consultants with a global positioning system (GPS). These regulated features include threatened and endangered plants, wetlands, streams, and archeological sites. VELCO uses state-of-the art GPS units, capable of a high level of accuracy that rivals standard methods of data acquisition such as instrument surveys (i.e., stadia rod and compass) while generating useable data in a cost effective and timely manner.
Once gathered, the field data is inserted onto the project site plans for use by company contractors and employees during construction of the project. This valuable data is then used by VELCO's right-of-way management department during routine vegetative management of the line and during transmission line maintenance. The data lessens VELCO’s impact on the environment by ensuring that work crews on our rights of way have accurate and relevant data depicting regulated resources so they can either avoid or take measures to mitigate impacts.
VELCO efforts for a sustainable environment
Throughout VELCO diverse efforts are underway to contribute to environmental sustainability. Employees volunteer time and effort to environmental initiatives and meet to share ideas and discusses ways to reduce our impact on the environment. Initiatives are proposed and implemented in areas such as; waste reduction, energy conservation, recycling, and community volunteer efforts.
- Solid waste reduction
- Paperless payroll
- Environmentally preferable purchasing
- Reduce the amount of reusable and repairable items dumped in landfills
- Junk mail reduction
- Energy conservation
- Solar hot water panel implementation
- Energy efficient lighting and sensors
- Solar panels on roof and campus
- HVAC system conversion
- Water conservation measures
- Hazardous waste reduction
- Bulk metal recycling
- Cell phone and battery recycling
- Natural ice melt
- Community leadership
- Green Up Vermont
- Community volunteer efforts
- Membership Rutland county energy challenge
- Environmental education
- Corporate newsletter articles
- Company-wide education sessions
- Carbon footprint
- Best management practices
- Environmental guidance manual
- Wetland mitigation practices
- Support of non-profit organizations
- Vegetation management
- Wildlife habitat management
VELCO-sponsored archaeology on the Northwest Reliability Project route
From 2005 to 2007, VELCO funded a series of archaeological studies in advance of construction of the Northwest Reliability Project. The studies were undertaken by the University of Vermont Consulting Archaeology Program and the Archaeological Services at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. VELCO has published a handbook describing the studies that is aimed at students and adults interested in the history of Native American people in the Champlain Basin before the arrival of Europeans. The handbook describes some of the 113 pre-contact Native American archaeological sites researched on the NRP corridor. You can download the handbook in PDF format here or request one or more copies by mail on our Contact Us page.