On April 22, we celebrate Earth Day, an annual event created in 1970 to raise awareness about humanity’s connection to, and impact on, the environment. Lady Bird Johnson said, “The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.” We share our planet not only with each other, but with animals, plants and other organisms, a truth reflected in this year’s Earth Day theme, “Protect our Species.”
At WAPA, we can be justifiably proud of our record of environmental stewardship, from the carbon-free, renewable hydropower we provide to our customers to our open access transmission system that facilitates the integration of green electricity into the grid.
One of the many ways we demonstrate our commitment is through collaborations with other agencies to reduce the effect of our operations on wildlife and habitat. Our work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has resulted in the potential downgrading of the razorback sucker and humpback chub from endangered to threatened. The Deseret milk-vetch was removed from the endangered species list entirely, thanks to a partnership between our Natural Resources Office and the FWS.
In cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Forest Service, WAPA has provided ospreys with nesting platforms to prevent the raptors from building nests on wooden transmission poles and substations. Crews in the Rocky Mountain and Sierra Nevada regions have installed poles in WAPA’s right of way and built and mounted platforms with nesting boxes on them. The Forest Service office in Granby, Colorado, considers the program a success, noting that all the nests are in use and mating pairs are returning to the platforms year after year.
The Colorado River Storage Project Management Center staff participates in groups to improve the health of the Colorado River. By supporting studies, such as the bug flows, high-flow experiments and trout monitoring, CRSP MC scientists are exploring strategies that may cut operation costs while protecting the river.
Protecting the environment is not only the right thing to do, it is also good business. Our core value of respecting self, others and the environment is foundational to WAPA’s operations. Our ability to power the West with clean electricity relies in no small part on treating our natural resources—water, water ways, land—respectfully. Thank you for all you do to ensure that we can continue to fulfill our mission for a sustainable future.
Mark A. Gabriel | Administrator and Chief Executive Officer
Western Area Power Administration | Headquarters