BGE believes in going beyond what is required to create a better community. Whether it's dedicating time to volunteering, preserving the environment, or partnering with groups to work toward the same goal, BGE has plenty of projects dedicated to stewardship in the community.
April 2014 - On Earth Day, BGE representatives spoke at several local events to spread knowledge to our customers about energy efficiency, conservation, energy choice, and more. Sharing this information and meeting our customers is always a top priority for BGE. This month we’ve been able to see environmental awareness building and inspire individuals to make changes in their behavior.
BGE is recognized by industry leaders such as ENERGY STAR and has spent Earth Day ensuring that our neighbors and local communities are educated in ways to better preserve and protect our planet.
To serve as a model for conservation, this week, BGE employees participated in an Eco-Challenge. This was a friendly team-based competition where more than 500 participants challenged and encouraged each other to reduce energy consumption and waste. Through this challenge and other efforts, we were also able to commend our employees with our Environmental Achievement awards for their personal dedication to environmental sustainability.
Earth Day is a great time to recognize the ways we can reduce our energy consumption. However, we encourage employees and customers to practice energy efficiency every day and check out the programs that BGE provides to help make this possible.
Happy Earth Day!
“At BGE, we have a strong commitment to balancing the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas and electric service with the environmental concerns of our customers and the communities we serve,” said Jeannette M. Mills, vice president and chief customer officer for BGE. “BGE regularly engages in activities that promote environmental stewardship. A core element of our company's commitment to the environment is protecting the wildlife, forests, plants and waterways in our communities, as we provide for our customers’ energy delivery needs.”
BGE erected two new Osprey nest platforms in Baltimore City and Annapolis to provide a safe place for Ospreys to nest, while also protecting the integrity of BGE’s overhead power lines. Ospreys, which are protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, occasionally nest near BGE’s electric distribution equipment. Bird nests on or near electric equipment may cause power outages and endanger the birds.
The two new platforms join nearly 40 other Osprey nest platforms erected by BGE throughout central Maryland to ensure the birds have a safe place to nest that does not have the potential to interfere with the electric distribution system. In addition to Osprey nesting platforms, BGE has erected an American Bald Eagle nesting platform in Anne Arundel County in 2008.
"We sometimes do some crazy things in the course of a day's work,” said Grady Robinson, BGE crew leader who was part of the Osprey nesting platform construction. "But I never dreamed I'd be building Osprey nests when I started at BGE 21 years ago! It’s a unique experience for our linemen, and they really enjoy creating a safe nesting location for the birds."
BGE worked closely with the Port of Baltimore to have a permanent Osprey nesting platform erected at Pier 8 in Baltimore City before Osprey nesting season began. In addition, BGE erected a temporary platform in Annapolis, where several Ospreys were trying to build a nest on BGE’s electric distribution equipment. After the nesting season is over and the birds and their young have left the nest, BGE plans to build a permanent nesting platform for the birds in a nearby location.
To view a video
of the construction and erection of the Osprey nesting platform in Baltimore City’s Pier 8, visit BGE’s YouTube channel
BGE partnered with Baltimore County to support its Growing Home Campaign
. The campaign, part of the county's Green Renaissance initiative, focuses on increasing much needed urban tree canopy in Baltimore County communities.
Designed to encourage homeowners to buy and plant trees on their property, the campaign offers coupons towards the purchase of a tree. Employees at BGE and partner companies frequently plant trees in urban neighborhoods and parks.
A Blue Heron spent several days at the Spring Gardens Complex, in South Baltimore, with what appeared to be a broken wing. During its stay at the Spring Gardens Complex, the Blue Heron was provided food (fish) and water by BGE operator trainee, Michael Martino. When it became evident the Blue Heron was not healing and its long term health was in danger, the BGE Environmental Management Unit was notified and they assisted in working with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to rescue the bird.
The DNR safely rescued and removed the Blue Heron from the Spring Gardens Complex. The Blue Heron was taken to a local veterinary clinic where its broken wing was treated under their care. The DNR officer informed BGE that the bird made a full recovery and was released back into the wild.
“BGE is committed to balancing the safe and reliable delivery of gas and electric service, with the environmental concerns of its customers and the communities it serves,” said Daniel Norden, director of environmental management, BGE. “A core element of our company's commitment to the environment is protecting the wildlife, forests, plants and waterways in our communities, as we provide for our customers' energy needs. This is a commitment embraced by each of our businesses.”
In 2008, BGE earned the Wildlife Habitat Council's (WHC) Wildlife at Work certification for the successful implementation of a comprehensive wildlife habitat management program at its 72-acre Spring Gardens Complex in Baltimore City. This prestigious distinction was awarded to BGE's program as a result of its demonstrated commitment to environmental stewardship and long-term wildlife habitat enhancement efforts.
To view photos from the Blue Heron rescue, click here
BGE volunteers and partners with great organizations and companies throughout Maryland. These efforts to help others stems from the
belief that the well-being of the communities we serve is very important to our well-being as a company.
“This is really important, and it is just an awesome experience for employees to come together with other resources to benefit the community,” said Kenny Gostomski, Senior Construction Inspector, who coordinated a project that was part of the United Way initiative. BGE has worked with the City of Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks to clean up urban green space and practice hands-on environmental stewardship in Druid Hill Park and many other green spaces that serve communities in Baltimore.
In addition to enhancing the community recreation area, the conservation effort also helped preserve 200-year-old rare oak trees. Anne Draddy, Jones Falls Trail Manager for the City of Baltimore, stated “This city/business partnership is fantastic. All of the people and equipment here today are making a huge difference. I had no idea BGE employees volunteered for projects like this. It’s very exciting."
Continuing with partnerships such as this is very important to BGE. Many relationships that BGE builds with other organizations last year after year and contribute to many finished projects and employee volunteer opportunities. If you would like to know more about how your organization can work with BGE, please visit our Doing Business with Us page.
Sundial Lupine Preservation
BGE has a long-standing tradition of teaming up with local organizations and environmental groups to protect endangered species and rare plants on its rights-of-way and currently protects more than 50 rare and endangered plants
BGE has successfully revitalization and protection of one of Maryland’s most rare and beautiful wildflowers – the sundial lupine. Protecting the sundial lupine is a collaborative effort between BGE and the University of Maryland’s Arboretum and Botanical Garden. BGE works with community organizations and environmental groups across Maryland to identify preserve and protect rare and endangered species that live on its rights-of-way.
In 2010, Dr. Sara Tangren, project leader for the University of Maryland’s Arboretum and Botanical Garden, reached out to BGE when she discovered that the lupine was growing on a rocky knoll on a BGE right-of-way in Baltimore County. BGE immediately took action as Sara Pyrant and Dan Neal, foresters for BGE, rewrote the company’s site vegetation management plans to help nurture and preserve the wildflower. By 2011, a healthy lupine meadow covered nearly an acre of land – the only lupine meadow in Baltimore County. Recently, an additional lupine site has begun to flourish in Anne Arundel County, thanks to the collaborative work between BGE and the University of Maryland.
“This has been quite a unique and rewarding experience to aid in the preservation of such a beautiful and rare native species, as well as to preserve other wildlife that relies on the lupine to survive,” said Pyrant. Pyrant also explained that “Because of our focus on environmental preservation, there are now more than 50 rare and endangered plants growing and thriving on BGE’s rights-of-way.”
Some examples of other endangered plants protected and nurtured by the utility include:
• Iris verna (Dwarf Iris) – less than five populations known in the state
• Carex vestita (Wooly Sedge) – the only known locations in Maryland are on BGE transmission rights-of-way
• Phlox pilosa (Downy Phlox) – this plant was originally listed as extirpated by the state, however; because of the population on BGE property, it is now listed as endangered
• Asclepias rubra (Red Milk-weed)
• Linum intercursum (Flax)
View photos of the Sundial Lupines.
BGE’s Solar Projects - Innovative Energy Solutions
BGE is proactive and innovative in our efforts to reduce our impact on the environment. We have launched two solar projects to supplement our energy use and reduce the amount of energy we purchase, thus reducing our impact on the environment. Our solar projects supply energy to two BGE facilities, Spring Gardens and the White Marsh Training Facility.
Renewable energy such as electricity produced by the sun is constantly replenished, and it is very environmentally friendly. Solar energy is just one of the ways we are working to make the environment better.
Patuxent Wildlife Research
BGE created a wetland habitat at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center near Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County. This new area serves as mitigation for wetlands affected by the construction of our 500 kV transmission loop around Washington, D.C. Completion of the loop impacted 13 acres of federally protected wetlands, so we mitigated this by building two wetland areas: two acres at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant and 25-acres at Patuxent.
The project allowed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expand its research center without having to finance for more land, and the U.S. Army turned formerly unusable real estate into an environmental showcase. Today, the public continues to benefit by having a beautiful educational site to visit and view wildlife in its natural habitat.
BGE recently partnered with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in its Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) project to help increase the population of the Indiana bat, a federally endangered mammal. As part of an effort to replenish the bat population, DNR has installed two bat boxes on a right-of-way in Carroll County.
The boxes sit under a transmission tower in a remote location, where the bats are likely to set up home. Although the bats’ natural roosting habitat is under the bark of trees or in caves, Indiana bats will also use bat boxes and other manmade structures, such as barns or houses. Putting up a bat roosting box can help replace lost or degraded habitat that has been contributing to the decline of bat populations throughout North America.“The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is very pleased to be working with BGE to provide habitat for the endangered Indiana bat,” said Jenny McCune, a biologist with DNR’s Landowner Incentive Program. “Power line right-of-way corridors provide habitat for many of Maryland's rare plants and animals, so we are enthusiastic about expanding our partnership with BGE in the future.”
A pair of eagles created a great deal of concern over a nest they were building high atop a key BGE high-voltage transmission tower at Marley Creek in Anne Arundel County. With an eye toward its commitment to environmental stewardship and electric reliability, BGE took the initiative to create a safe nesting platform for the American Bald Eagles. This was the first time a utility in this country had ever relocated an American Bald Eagle’s nest.
Greg Kappler, senior environmental scientist for BGE, was extremely concerned about the danger to the birds because of the proximity of the nest to the energized lines. This particular high-voltage transmission line feeds directly into the electric power grid of the greater Baltimore area. Although Kappler was relieved to find that no eggs had been laid, he knew that BGE had to move fast. Since eagles are federally protected, he contacted a representative from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to inform the national organization about the situation and to discuss BGE’s recommendation to relocate the nest.
BGE's Transmission Engineering and Transmission Construction organizations designed, measured and installed a lattice platform upon which to relocate the existing nest. Several crew members used the Condor Aerial lift to install the new platform, remove the existing inactive nest materials from the tower and gingerly relocate the nest to the new platform. The new platform needed to take into account the heavy weight potential of an American Bald Eagle’s nest.
As the men worked, the birds watched their every move from a nearby tower. “It’s a unique opportunity to do something like this for the environment,” added Dave Kammer, transmission crew leader for BGE. “In our line of work, there’s something different going on every day. This kind of project makes our jobs even more interesting.”
As the crews were leaving the site that afternoon, one eagle flew to the lattice platform and perched there. Several hours later, the pair was seen making adjustments to the newly relocated nest.
“Watching the eagles sit in their nest on the new platform gave me such a good feeling—one of pride and accomplishment—that our company handled this situation the way it did. It’s just a great story,” said Larry Bosley, supervisor of transmission construction.
BGE received the Southeastern Electric Exchange Industry Excellence Award in the environmental category for its American Bald Eagle Relocation Project.
View an article
about the relocation in Transmission and Distribution World Magazine.
of the American Bald Eagle nest relocation.
Industry Excellence Award
The BGE eagle relocation project received the Southeastern Electric Exchange Industry Excellence Award in the environmental category.
This is the citation for the Southeastern Electric Exchange winning project announcement in the environmental category:
When BGE learned that an American Bald Eagle had built its nest on a transmission tower insulator, posing a serious arcing hazard and possible damage to both the eagles and the equipment, the BGE environmental management unit went into action and devised a plan to safely relocate the nest. This award recognizes employees who went beyond the call of duty to implement a creative solution on short notice … and with a storm looming!