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Right-Of-Way Stewardship Council

The Right-of-Way Stewardship Council (ROWSC) is an accreditation program that has established standards for responsible right-of-way vegetation management along corridors. The program promotes the application of Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) and best management practices to utility vegetation managers in order to maintain power system reliability and address ecological concerns.

The Right-of-Way Stewardship Council (ROWSC) is the only accreditation program that has established standards for responsible right-of-way (ROW) vegetation management. The program promotes the application of integrated vegetation management (IVM) and best management practices (BMPs) to the utility vegetation management industry to maintain power system reliability and address ecological concerns. The ROWSC was established in 2013 as a program within Dovetail Partners Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit environmental think tank serving as program administrator.

ROWSC uses an accreditation model to provide standards of excellence for environmental stewardship and presents the opportunity for utility companies to demonstrate their commitment to such standards. The ROWSC model follows the lead of the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI) Standards for Assessing Performance of Integrated Vegetation Management on Rights-of-Way and is informed by other well-established programs found in the forest industry.

The ROWSC established its standards based on a set of predetermined principles and criteria, requires a formal application processand enlists third-party auditors to ensure compliance with standards. Third-party recognition ensures an independent, proven process to convey credibility and bring recognition to IVM programs.

The benefits of the accreditation reach beyond the practitioner’s sphere. ROWSC accreditation also provides assurance to regulatory agencies, by ensuring that IVM practitioners meet the program’s rigorous principles while potentially reducing the need for new regulation. This, in turn, can improve relations with state and federal agencies, as well as stakeholder groups. Similarly, ROWSC accreditation holds value to the public. By engaging and informing stakeholders throughout the process, IVM practitioners ensure better and broader understanding about societal and community impacts of IVM.

The ROWSC has accredited utilities in the United States and Canada. A common characteristic of these utilities is their recognition of and desire for long-term practices that ensure safety, security, access, and regulatory compliance in an environmentally beneficial manner.

Current Accredited utilities, recognized by the ROWSC as “A Right-of Way Steward Utility,” are: 

o AltaLink*

o Arizona Public Service (APS)*

o Bonneville Power Administration (BPA)*

o FirstEnergy

o New York Power Authority (NYPA)*

o Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)*

o Vermont Electric Company (VELCO)* * Founding utility

Former accredited utilities:

o Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E)*

The ROWSC Accreditation Standards for Assessing Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) Excellence establish the technical requirements for applicants seeking ROW Steward accreditation.

Current Council Members:

John Steelman, Grow With Trees (Environmental) 

Iris Caldwell, UIC (Academic)

Dave O’Brien, Lewis Tree Service (UVM Contractor)

Amy N. Murray, Davey Resource Group (UVM Consultant)

Phil Chen, CNUC (UVM Consultant)

Sarah Ball, EEI (Industry Organization)

Lewis H. Payne, NYPA (T-ROW Asset Owner/Manager)

Jeff Disorda, VELCO (T-ROW Asset Owner/Manager)

Ashley Bennett, EPRI (Industry Organization, non-voting)

Tom Sullivan, Audit Committee Chair (non-voting)

John Goodfellow, Technical Committee Chair (non-voting)

Special thanks for the service of former ROWSC Members:

Derek Vannice, CN Utility; Josiane Bonneau, Wildlife Habitat Council;  Phil Charlton, Charlton Associates and UAA; Elizabeth Johnson, TNC; Ruth Stein, Public at Large; Keven Ireland, CPS; Rick Loughery, EEI; Rebecca Spach, First Energy; Alex Brown, Exelon; Craig Kelly, PG&E; John Goodrich-Mahoney, EPRI. 

Vision of the ROWSC:

To be a leader in promoting responsible vegetation management along North American right-of-ways.

Mission Statement:

To benefit society and the environment by promoting sustainable resource management principles and practices on right-of-ways.

To learn more

Contact the ROWSC Coordinator

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Right of Way Stewardship Council Coordinator