Tree Free Zones in Jacksonville

On August 14, 2003, more than 50 million people in the Midwest and Northeast, and in parts of Canada, lost power. This historic blackout caused significant interruptions to commerce, communications, water/sewer services, transportation, and other critical services. The cause was distressingly simple: a tree growing too close to a transmission line.

Since then, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has required all electric utilities with transmission lines to develop, implement, and comply with something called a Transmission Vegetation Management Procedure.

Power lines near trees

The procedure requires the defined clearance from transmission lines take into consideration:

  • Distance from the conductor to the ground
  • Conductor Voltage
  • Distance between structures
  • Conductor sag at full load
  • Conductor sway with the wind
  • Tree height and growth rate

Maintaining a Low-Growing Ecosystem Around Transmission Lines

At JEA, once we have established a clear transmission right-of-way, we need to keep it clear of taller-growing trees and plants. Only plants, shrubs or trees whose height at maturity is 8 feet are allowed to grow in the Transmission rights-of-way.

Mowing and cutting alone is not enough because taller-growing vegetation will simply re-sprout. So, we inspect our rights-of-way several times a year in order to treat re-growth or other incompatible vegetation.

Our goal is not to remove or prevent all plant life from flourishing, but to develop and encourage low-growing vegetation similar to a meadow. This way, wildlife indigenous to our area such as birds, small mammals and reptiles can prosper in a field-like habitat. 

Contact JEA's Arborists and Foresters

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