IVM is a data-driven, progressive system of information gathering utilized to best plan and complete vegetation management work, including follow-up auditing, to better ensure the desired results are achieved. It involves the use of various types of vegetation management treatment including the removing, pruning and mowing of vegetation and the treatment of vegetation with herbicides. The overall goal of a utility IVM program is to develop compliant, site-specific, environmentally sensitive, cost-effective and socially responsible solutions to vegetation control near electric and natural gas facilities.
IVM’s genesis was borrowed from Integrated Pest Management (IPM) that considers biological, chemical, cultural, and physical (e.g., mechanical and manual techniques) methods to control undesirable vegetation. The method that is implemented to control undesirable vegetation at any given location is selected on the basis of treatment effectiveness, site characteristics, environmental impacts (including impacts to desirable, non-target vegetation species), safety, and economics. Flexibility and site specificity are key aspects of IVM.
IVM provides a structure with flexibility that supports the development of a comprehensive approach to preserving and maintaining and purpose and function of rights-of-ways. It provides the individual utility the ability to select and schedule appropriate treatment methods and to selectively treat specific sites. IVM is an adaptive system that follows an interdisciplinary approach that crosses utility departments. IVM is based on a deliberate strategy to encourage the development of sustainable compatible vegetative cover types, which suppresses the establishment and growth of incompatible vegetation. Compatible vegetation is consistent with primary operational objectives of reliability, access, safety and regulatory compliance.
IVM is a structured decision making process. The process is a continuous loop that is adjusted over time as a result of monitoring and adjusting the program to meet changing ecosystem conditions and current utility needs.
With IVM, management objectives are established around specific tolerance levels. These objectives are based on internal and external factors including reliability, regulatory compliance, site sensitivity, location, Stakeholder considerations, and maintenance budgets.
Properly implemented, IVM is recognized as a methodology that encompasses a range of industry-established best practices. It is therefore an integral component of an effective vegetation management program.
ECI has written multiple transmission and distribution IVM management plans for major IOU’s.
ECI has authored several transmission studies, including an IVM study through the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI): Wildlife and Integrated Vegetation Management on Electric Transmission Line Rights-of-Way. Technical Update. EPRI. 2002. 1005
ECI authored theUtility Arborist Association’s Integrated Vegetation Management on Pipeline Rights-of-Way addendum to the ISA’s Best Management Practices: Integrated Vegetation Management.