Minnkota Power Cooperative’s integrated approach to vegetation management creates, promotes and conserves sustainable plant communities while discouraging plants that pose safety and security concerns.
We monitor and maintain growth around our power lines tomeet regulatory and environmental compliance requirements.
Minnkota inspects right-of-way corridors each year. In the fall, our lineworkers check growth by helicopter, track tree height and begin an annual work plan.
Additional patrols are performed throughout the year by crews in the air and on the ground, supported by reports from line-watching landowners.
Minnkota Puts Safety First
Working around power lines and other electric elements can be dangerous, so Minnkota ensures that qualified vegetation contractors complete maintenance work around its structures. If you are a landowner, do not trim or remove tree limbs if they are anywhere near power lines. If you believe a tree is growing too close to a line and could be a hazard, please call Minnkota at 701-795-4000.Vegetation Management
Minnkota's Vegetation Management Procedures
Vegetation Clearing — Minnkota deploys manual and machine-driven clearing in areas where vegetation has grown too tall to apply herbicide.
Tree Removal — Minnkota complies with governmental standards to make sure electricity is always flowing reliably through its transmission lines. Tree removal is essential to meeting these standards and supports long-term vegetation control. Minnkota will likely remove trees where other mechanical measures have been implemented previously.
Herbicide Application — Minnkota utilizes herbicides to control the root systems of woody vegetation. Only herbicides that are registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the appropriate state regulatory agency are used, and they are applied by licensed applicators. This practice reduces the cost of maintenance in the long-term.
Tree Pruning — To satisfy federal standards, Minnkota will prune trees if it is impossible to remove them. The cooperative follows pruning standards set by the American National Standards Institute and the Tree Care Industry Association (endorsed by the International Society of Arboriculture). Mechanical pruning equipment may be used if access, terrain, or tree height challenges arise.
Debris Cleanup —Debris that results from Minnkota’s clearing activities is often left on the rights of way. This allows it to decompose and return nutrients to the soil. The practice also reduces soil erosion in the area. Any brush debris that falls onto roads, waterways, fences or lawns will be collected and disposed of.
Minnkota will make every reasonable effort to notify property owners before vegetation management work. However, that may not be possible in an emergency. Notices usually come from the tree contractor, but they may come directly from Minnkota.
Power lines move in certain conditions – they sag on hot days and sway in the wind. Nearby plants and trees must be planned and maintained accordingly.
Before planting, consider mature size and crown spread of trees. The clearance distances required for power lines vary depending on line voltage – the higher the voltage, the greater the required clearance distance.
Contact Minnkota Vegetation Management to safely plan your planting or if you have questions about the program!
Minnkota Power Vegetation Management
Federal Requirements in Response to Blackout
In August 2003, a major Northeast outage left more than 50 million people without power. The central cause – tree contact with a power line. Following the blackout, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) made mandatory national rules to ensure reliable power, including vegetation management practices. Utilities face substantial penalties for noncompliance with these rules, which mandate minimum clearance distances between power lines and trees and large plants.
We need your help!
As a landowner, YOU are most familiar with areas on your property that are 1) near power lines and 2) have large plant growth. Use that knowledge to help Minnkota keep power flowing to your region.
STAY SAFE. Improperly maintained trees and plants that grow into the right of way can spark fires, create power outages and stop crews from making important and timely repairs. Don’t attempt to trim or remove trees yourself. Call Minnkota Vegetation Management (701-795-4000) to coordinate a clearing.
REPORT A PROBLEM AREA. Let Minnkota know if…
• there are trees, shrubs or other woody plants growing near the lines
• a tree is diseased, dying or unstable
DO NOT PLANT TREES THAT ARE…
• in the right of way
• near the right of way and could grow into the line