SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As part of their efforts to provide safe and reliable service while serving as environmental workers Eversource in Agawam held its turtle protection program — “turtle-palooza!”.
The program is designed to train the energy company’s crews in locating and protecting endangered turtles. It’s part of their work with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife under the natural heritage program.
Crews can even get help from a specially trained turtle sniffing dog. Eversource says Agawam is one of the turtles favorite habitats. It’s because the company keeps growth low underneath the power lines, which creates little ecosystems where some rare species of turtles are thriving.
“We want to protect our endangered species, we want to make sure we provide a great habitat for them and that while we are out here making sure that we have reliable power for our customers, we also are being responsible for these habitats.” Denise Bartone
“We take our role to provide safe, reliable service to our customers while being responsible environmental stewards very seriously, and our annual ‘Turtle-palooza!’ training is another example of our commitment to those efforts,” said Eversource Vice President for Sustainability and Environmental Affairs Catherine Finneran. “By keeping the growth low underneath the power lines to ensure the reliable delivery of electricity, we’ve been able to create suitable, niche habitat throughout the right-of-way, where some rare species of turtles are thriving. That’s why we work every year to train our vegetation management staff and contractors to search and remove these turtles before mowing or rolling any heavy equipment into their habitats.”
“By mowing rights of way on a periodic basis Eversource is not only keeping lines clear for utility purposes, but also creating excellent habitat for rare upland turtles like the eastern box turtle as well as other wildlife that thrive in brushy, open young forests, “said Lauren Glorioso, MassWildlife Endangered Species Review Biologist. “Today’s training gives vegetation management crews the skills needed to find turtles and move them out of the way before mowing. It’s a win-win for energy and rare species conservation.”