Hydro One and Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority partner on environmental restoration project for Bruce to Milton Biodiversity Initiative

TORONTO, Sept. 1, 2011 /CNW/ - Hydro One and the Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority (SVCA) announced today that they will be partnering on the creation of a tall grass prairie vegetation community as part of Hydro One's Bruce to Milton Biodiversity Initiative.

The initiative will enhance 1.8 hectares of the Allan Park Forest Management Tract, located in the Municipality of West Grey. It will involve establishing tall grass prairie vegetation that is not native to Allan Park, to increase and diversify wildlife in the watershed. The plantings will be maintained by controlled burning of the fields (every 3 to 10 years) to control shrub and tree seedlings and other non-prairie weeds, eliminate standing dead plant material and to enhance prairie plant species growth.

The Allan Park property is actively used by various groups and community members all year round. The SVCA will engage local community members through an open house, and include signage and informational pamphlets aimed to educate and inform the community about the importance of the tall grass initiative.

The Biodiversity Initiative is an innovative mitigation approach that will create and enhance natural habitat in partnership with community-based organizations, First Nations and Métis, and municipalities. The initiative shifts Hydro One's focus from its traditional compensation approach of "area for area" replacement of woodlots when constructing new high-voltage transmission lines. Hydro One was recently recognized by the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) for this Biodiversity Initiative, receiving the CEA 2009 Environmental Commitment Award

"We are very proud of the Biodiversity Initiative and the opportunity it provides us to enhance the natural habitat and give back to communities as we modernize the electricity transmission system," said Laura Formusa, President and CEO, Hydro One Inc. "Partnering with the SVCA means that community values are reflected throughout the process, helping to ensure success while making sure Hydro One can deliver the electricity Ontario needs."

"Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority is pleased to partner with Hydro One for the implementation of this Biodiversity Initiative within the Allan Park Forest Management Tract," said Jo-Anne Harbinson, Manager, SVCA.

"The project is the first of its kind for Allan Park, and will result in the establishment of plants not common to our watershed.  The tall grass prairie ecosystem will help to increase the overall diversity of the tract and surrounding area," said Harbinson.  "The site conditions present within the planting area will nurture this plant community.  Once established, the SVCA hopes that the tall grass prairie vegetation community at this site can be used as an educational tool for ecosystem biodiversity."

This year, seven partners will receive funding from Hydro One to implement 22 locally-designed biodiversity initiatives.  These projects will help restore and enhance approximately 380 hectares of habitat and ensure there is net gain of woodlot and wildlife habitat within the four watersheds crossed by the new transmission line. Approximately, 280 hectares of woodlots will be removed to enable construction of the Bruce to Milton Project.

The Bruce to Milton Project received Ontario Energy Board section 92 Leave to Construct approval on September 15, 2008 and Environmental Assessment approval on December 16, 2009.  This new 180 kilometre double-circuit 500 kV transmission line from Kincardine to Milton will transfer more than 3,000 megawatts of clean and renewable power from the Bruce area to southern Ontario. This project represents the largest expansion to Ontario's transmission system in 20 years. The new line is planned to be in-service in December 2012.

For more information on the Biodiversity Projects and partners please visit www.HydroOne.com/projects/brucetomilton.

Hydro One delivers electricity safely, reliably and responsibly to homes and businesses across the province of Ontario and owns and operates Ontario's 29,000 km high-voltage transmission network that delivers electricity to large industrial customers and municipal utilities, and a 123,000 km low-voltage distribution system that serves about 1.3 million end-use customers and smaller municipal utilities in the province. Hydro One is wholly owned by the Province of Ontario.

The Saugeen Conservation Authority owns over 8,498 hectares of Conservation Areas and Lands comprised of important wetlands, managed forests and day use areas and camping parks. To learn more about SVCA, visit www.svca.on.ca.

SOURCE Hydro One Inc.

For further information:

contact Hydro One Media Relations 24 hours a day at 1-877-506-7584 (toll-free in Ontario only) or 416-345-6868. Visit our website at www.HydroOne.com


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