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In August 2019, Dominion Energy volunteered with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to install reef balls in Gloucester, Va., along the York River. These structures are concrete molds with holes for oysters to adhere to and will be used to minimize shoreline erosion and provide critical oyster habitat.
In partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dominion Energy is planning to convert 24 acres of land into pollinator habitat at the decommissioned Kewaunee Power Station in Wisconsin. In 2019, we completed a unique project at Kewaunee to transform its decommissioned lagoons into wildlife habitats. Rather than employ traditional methods, which would have involved filling the lagoons with dirt, we turned the ponds and wetlands into a bird and wildlife preserve.
This year biologists at our Millstone Power Station continued performing field work to contribute to a project under the EPA Regional Applied Research Effort (RARE) partnership program. The purpose of the project is to use high-resolution remotely sensed imagery to assess the health and abundance of seagrass in southern New England waters. The data collected will help develop and refine tools for extracting eelgrass distribution and biomass data and forecast primary production from satellite imagery. Natural-resource managers value this detailed information because it provides insight into the relative health of the seagrass meadows.
Our employees often find ways to help us build a more sustainable future and protect habitats. For example: Recognizing that abandoned tires can pose a threat to the environment, a team at our Darbytown Power Station in Virginia removed more than 1,500 tires that were illegally dumped nearby, thus restoring the natural areas adjacent to the station.
Another employee-driven effort occurred as part of our Strategic Underground Program. When distribution lines are placed underground, the utility poles that supported them are typically either transferred to another provider or removed entirely. But removing poles can be difficult and costly — especially if they are located in wetlands — and often require specialized equipment. When two recent projects called for the removal of poles from wetlands, our project team came up with an innovative way to promote wildlife habitats while saving costs. Instead of removing the poles, the team suggested leaving the poles in place and offered to install waterfowl boxes. The property owner recognized this would reduce the impact on the wetlands and enhance the local waterfowl populations, and customers welcomed the boxes on their property.