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Conservation Mowing and Vegetation Management: What to know before we trim

Each day, our Power Line Clearance team works to ensure the reliability of our electricity and safety of our communities and crews by employing a systematic approach to vegetation management around the utility’s complex network of substations, power lines, and transformers.

To learn more about our program and what to expect when our vegetation management crews are in your area, please watch the short video below.

In summer 2019, City Light began experimenting with a conservation mowing technique along the right-of-way (ROW) of the Chief Sealth Trail. By practicing conservation mowing techniques, we can ensure electrical reliability and the safety of our communities and crews while remaining committed to the environment.

Our mowing activities follow these guidelines:

  • Crews will mow grass at least 10 feet along the outside edges of the ROW. 
  • Crews will mow a 3-to-5 foot strip on either side of the Chief Sealth Trail. This allows the public to continue to safely enjoy the trail.
  • Crews will mow at least 10 feet at all street ends and street crossings. This promotes increased line of sight for bicycles, pedestrians, and vehicles operating on the roads that cross the trail. 
  • Crews will mow around the base of City Light’s transmission towers as needed to maintain access for tower maintenance and repairs. 
  • All other mowing on the ROW will be delayed until late summer or early fall. This timing i typically aligns with the end of the bird nesting season.
  • In August, crews will expand mowing on the ROW. However, smaller bird and pollinator sections may remain unmown. The unmown plots benefit birds and pollinators along the trail and adhere to City Light’s obligations to maintain electrical reliability and safety for the ROW. Our crews will maintain and monitor any unmown vegetation accordingly.

This mowing method promotes healthy pollinator and nesting bird habitats along the trail. This is particularly important in spring. During this season, the ROW grass and flowering plants provide food and shelter for several bird species that nest along the trail. The tall grass protects the birds from predators. Also, several plants along the ROW support insect pollination, which aid in plant and food production.

We continue to use this technique on the Chief Sealth Trail periodically. Learn more by watching the video below.