Hydro One and Grand River Conservation Authority partner on environmental restoration projects for Bruce to Milton Biodiversity Initiative

TORONTO, Sept. 1, 2011 /CNW/ - Hydro One and the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) announced today they will partner on two environmental restoration projects to create and enhance important wildlife habitat at the Luther Marsh Management Area, as part of Hydro One's Bruce to Milton Biodiversity Initiative.

The two initiatives will restore former agricultural lands by establishing Upland Forest and Native Grassland habitats.  These efforts will help to create and expand contiguous habitat areas essential to many wildlife species and, species at risk, including the Loggerhead Shrike and Short Eared Owl. Luther Marsh is widely used by the local community, and users will have the opportunity to learn more about the importance of biodiversity and this restoration project when visiting. The Luther Marsh Management Area is home to many species at risk and rare flora and fauna.

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 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 GRCA means that local values and priorities are reflected throughout the process, helping to ensure success while making sure Hydro One can deliver the electricity Ontario needs."

"Hydro One's Biodiversity Initiative is enabling us to create, enhance and manage over 105 hectares of additional wildlife habitat in one of southern Ontario's most significant natural areas, resulting in an extremely high value restoration project that will have a large and positive environmental impact on the local area as a whole" said Joe Farwell, Chief Administrative Officer, GRCA.

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 Grand River Conservation Authority manages water and other natural resources on behalf of 38 municipalities and close to one million residents. It develops and implements programs, directly and with partners, to improve water quality, reduce flood damages, maintain a reliable water supply, facilitate watershed planning, protect natural areas and biodiversity and provide environmental education.

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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