North American Oil & Gas Pipelines

JUN 2018

North American Oil & Gas Pipelines covers the news shaping the business of oil and gas pipeline construction and maintenance in North America, including pipeline installation methods, integrity management innovations and managerial strategies.

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Page 26 of 43 JUNE 2 018 | North American Oil & Gas Pipelines 27 communities by discouraging incom- patibles. The control methods used in IVM include mechanical, chemical, biological and cultural. Mechanical controls such as mow- ing or chainsaw clearing are usually where a program begins before pro- gressing to the use of herbicides to con- trol woody plants. Herbicides prevent the regrowth of cut woody plants and allow compatible herbaceous plants to become established on the right of way. As IVM programs mature, it encour- ages the establishment of a native low- growing, stable grassy and broadleaf plant community known as an early successional habitat. These plants cre- ate biological controls that help resist the re-establishment of woody plants and can reduce the use of herbicides. Low-growing native plant commu- nities can provide safe, economical and accessible rights of way. Managing a right of way with IVM has environ- mental benefits in addition to meet- ing operational needs. Focusing on promoting these plants instead of con- stantly removing thick, woody plants reduces the need for routine cutting, which lowers the company's carbon footprint and the burning of fossil fu- els by mowers and other equipment. Soil disturbance, erosion and stream sedimentation are also minimized. With IVM, right-of way corridors can be managed to restore native prairie, meadow and shrub habitats that are at- tractive to the community and provide food and shelter for a wide variety of birds, insects and other wildlife. Propping Up Pollinators Pollinators are one of the most im- portant groups of species that benefit from the habitats produced by IVM. Pollinators including bees, humming- birds and especially monarch butter- flies are in decline, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service cites habitat loss as a major contributing factor. Pollinators are responsible for mov- ing pollen from one plant to another, spurring plant fertilization and suc- cessful seed and fruit production. They are a vital part of the ecosystem that help produce one out of every three bites of food. According to the Polli- nator Partnership, the largest group in the world dedicated to protecting these insects and small animals, there are about 1,000 plants used in food, bever- ages, fibers, spices and medicines that need pollination to produce the goods on which we depend. NiSource and other utility and pipe- line companies are increasingly recog- nizing the value of supporting pollina- tor conservation. Managing rights of way for habitat contributes to a com- pany's sustainability and biodiversity metrics and provide a positive outcome for nearby communities. NiSource has several projects across its seven-state territory where pollina- tor habitats are being proactively estab- lished. These take place during restora- tion activities on major infrastructure projects, through IVM or by partner- ing with landowners who also see the value in helping pollinators. In the Lexington, Kentucky, area, we recently started a pilot program to remove ex- isting vegetation and sow a specialized seed mixture that will grow plants like milkweed, gray goldenrod, prairie cone flower and white prairie clover to at-

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