Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Native Plant Species for Electric Transmission Line Right-of-Way Revegetation Within the Tennessee Valley Authority Power Service Area

The safe operation of electric transmission lines necessitates the suppression of tall, woody

vegetation on associated rights-of-way (ROWs). Native warm season grasses (NWSG) are more

expensive for ROW revegetation compared to typical exotic cool season grasses (ECSG), but they may

alter the successional trajectory such that long-term maintenance costs are reduced. I conducted a

cost-benefit analysis to determine if ROW revegetation with NWSG is cost effective compared to ECSG. I

synthesized cost information obtained from the Tennessee Valley Authority regarding ROW planting and

maintenance and data collected from a feasibility study of ROWs planted with NWSG. Revegetation

with NWSG was found to be 6% more expensive than ECSG. The degree of woody suppression to make

NWSG a worthwhile investment was found to be 12-21% using a break-even analysis. Despite the initial

greater expense of NWSG, associated potential maintenance savings and indirect ecological,

environmental, social, and economic benefits favor their use.

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