PEC announced it was recently awarded a $1 million grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for habitat conservation planning assistance.
The funds will be used to research and develop a 30-year habitat conservation plan for the protection of 34 species across 5 million acres of the cooperative’s service territory in 21 Texas counties.
“There is no doubt that the Texas Hill Country is special,” said PEC District 7 Board Director Amy Lea SJ Akers, “and that it provides a unique habitat for various wildlife. This grant will allow us to ensure that even as we work to expand and maintain the cooperative’s electric system, we’re doing everything we can to protect the Texas Hill Country and the habitat it provides.”
Vegetation maintenance is necessary for the delivery of safe, reliable electric service, and PEC adheres to federal laws and guidelines by avoiding or minimizing its impact on protected species. Under its new conservation plan, the cooperative will also mitigate any necessary impact by purchasing (or buying offsets for) comparable habitat outside its easements.
The cooperative’s vision statement outlines its dedication to responsible stewardship of resources, and it has long been committed to maintaining vegetation responsibly and sensitively.
In 2008, PEC hired an independent firm to conduct a baseline identification of species that could be impacted within the cooperative’s transmission line easements. The document helped staff better understand which species could be potentially affected by PEC projects.
A draft of PEC’s habitat conservation plan will be submitted to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife service and is expected to be approved and put into practice within the next few years.