FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) today announced that it is partnering with the Wildlife Habitat Council and the City of Fort Wayne to plan the creation of environmentally balanced habitats along a section of the Powering Up Central Project right-of-way.
Additionally, I&M is coordinating with Friends of the Rivers and other local groups and organizations to enhance the area for public use.
The collaboration represents the Wildlife Habitat Council’s most extensive involvement with an AEP transmission project. Fort Wayne’s Powering Up Central project has been chosen as the pilot for a larger alliance between American Electric Power (AEP), the parent company of I&M, and the Wildlife Habitat Council.
A portion of the project, along Spy Run Avenue Extended, runs parallel to the Rivergreenway and the St. Joseph River. Tree clearing will begin next week along this and other sections of the project. During various stages of the project, portions of the Rivergreenway may be closed. When construction is complete, vegetation management along this part of the project will make the river more visible and reduce future necessary maintenance.
Additional efforts will include a possible bicycle repair station, benches, educational signage and other conservation-focused enhancements such as support for pollinators and birds, tree planting and targeting of invasive species.
“We are committed to being responsible stewards of our natural resources while making the necessary upgrades to our transmission grid,” said Paul Chodak III, President and Chief Operating Officer of I&M. “Our partnership with the Wildlife Habitat Council is an exciting part of our commitment to protect and enhance the natural beauty of Fort Wayne and the many other communities in which we work.”
“We’re very excited to be a part of this project and help facilitate conservation efforts along the river,” said Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Director Al Moll. “The Rivergreenway is widely used, and this initiative will ensure it remains an accessible part of nature that our community can continue to enjoy.”
“By creating a native habitat in the project right-of-way, local wildlife will benefit, and the Wildlife Habitat Council is thrilled to be a part of this conservation effort in Fort Wayne,” said Margaret O’Gorman, President of Wildlife Habitat Council.
The transmission project will balance the need for safe, reliable electric service with the respectful conservation of native species and habitats.
Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its 2,450 employees serve more than 589,000 customers. It operates 2,600 MW of coal-fired generation in Indiana, 2,160 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan and 22 MW of hydro generation in both states. The company’s generation portfolio also includes 450 MW of purchased wind generation and, by the end of 2016, approximately 15 MW of large-scale solar generation.
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to nearly 5.4 million customers through 223,000 miles of distribution lines in 11 states. AEP owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 32,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.
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