To reduce environmental impacts, PacifiCorp has programs addressing wildlife protection, wetlands preservation, reducing hydroelectric facilities' impact on fish, plant relicensing, and bird interactions with power lines and wind turbines. The company also uses award-winning land reclamation techniques to restore habitat after completing mining operations.
In Washington, PacifiCorp is concluding its 22-year-old Merwin Wildlife Habitat Management Program. This program is now part of an expanded 10,300-acre Lewis River Wildlife Habitat Management Program, providing additional protection and enhancement for fish and wildlife and an extensive geographic information system database. The GIS maps provide site-specific information on sensitive habitats and species.
PacifiCorp has managed forest habitat for developing old-growth Douglas fir forests and for improving habitat structures and forage for wildlife in second-growth strands. Cooperative studies regarding bald eagles on the Lewis River have led to habitat protection that now provides nesting habitat for up to 11 pairs of eagles.
The company was also a prime sponsor of the Oregon Biodiversity Project, a multiyear effort administered by Defenders of Wildlife and other groups. The project used GIS mapping to identify key conservation areas for flora and fauna, and created a database to help direct development and avoid conflict between economical and environmental interests.
To preserve land for future generations, PacifiCorp worked with Bridgerland Audubon Society and The Nature Conservancy on a conservation easement for approximately 500 acres of Bear River bottomlands near Trenton, Utah.
In Utah's Cache County, the Cutler Marsh and its surrounding lands are managed by PacifiCorp to protect and enhance flora and fauna. The company also provides recreational opportunities – canoeing, hunting, fishing and bird-watching – and such traditional agricultural land uses as grazing and storage. PacifiCorp manages the hydro project and associated lands for the Cutler project area and has received recognition from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the Bridgerland Audubon Society for the Cutler Wetlands Maze, an area of the marsh known for its sensitive wildlife habitat.
PacifiCorp is determined to reduce the impacts of hydroelectric dams, particularly on migratory fish such as salmon and steelhead trout. The company has taken a proactive approach to endangered species protection in the Northwest.
On Washington's Lewis River, the company is operating a unique floating surface collector at Swift Dam to help juvenille fish migrate around the dams to the lower river where they can continue their swim to the Pacific Ocean. The facility is only the third of its kind in the world.
On the North Umpqua River in southern Oregon, PacifiCorp constructed an innovative new fish passage facility that is helping steelhead and salmon reach spawning habitat that has been blocked for 60 years.
Land reclamation and preservation
PacifiCorp's staff has developed a nationally recognized land reclamation program. Employees of PacifiCorp subsidiary Glenrock Coal Company restored 4,600 acres of land mined for more than 40 years to its original state, completing reclamation of the Dave Johnston Mine in Wyoming in 2005. The Bridger Coal Company also successfully reclaimed a site at the jointly owned Jim Bridger Mine in Wyoming, which now provides forage for wild horses.
In 2001, Glenrock Coal Company was awarded the State of Wyoming's Excellence in Surface Mining award and received an Excellence in Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation award from the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Surface Mining.
As part of decommissioning its Powerdale hydro project along the Hood River in Oregon, PacifiCorp donated 400 acres surrounding the project. The lands will be used for conservation and recreation purposes.