At FirstEnergy, we're proud of our environmental commitment and the recognition we've received for associated achievements. Examples of our environmental efforts can be found throughout our service areas -- these efforts are an integral part of our company and of our goal to be the leading regional energy provider.
Land Reclamation Projects and Brownfields Development
FirstEnergy has found new and different ways to develop and redevelop real estate assets that might otherwise remain unused. In Erie, Pa., our former Front Street Power Station has been transformed into an award-winning waterfront complex that includes a library and a nautical museum. We worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and government officials to redevelop the site, helping the local economy in the process.
The Navarre Marsh is a 730-acre site on the southwest shore of Lake Erie that serves as both a stopping point along two major flyways for migratory birds and as a home to a wide range of wildlife. FirstEnergy restored this wetland with cooperation from local officials and environmentalists.
In Akron, FirstEnergy reclaimed a former coal ash collection site and transformed it into the Patterson Avenue Sports Complex, with six public baseball fields. This work involved a unique collaboration with the City of Akron and EPRI, with oversight by the Ohio EPA.
FirstEnergy has taken action to provide environmental remediation at the site of facilities once owned by our companies or predecessor companies. These sites include the former locations of power plants, ash storage facilities and historic manufactured gas plants. Work is under way at many of these sites, and planned at others throughout our service area. Some of these sites date back more than 100 years, to a time when the importance of environmental protection was not widely understood or recognized. We are dedicated to a course of environmental remediation that restores the land to use and mitigates any potential hazards left behind by previous activity.
Wildlife Diversity Projects
We understand that our protection of the environment must extend to wildlife, as well. We are proud to host several peregrine falcon nests at our facilities. Once approaching extinction, peregrine falcons now thrive in special nesting boxes placed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) at our Bay Shore, Eastlake and Lake Shore power plants.
Also, our linemen annually assist the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the ODNR in banding osprey chicks living in nests built near FirstEnergy transmission towers. Our efforts play an important role in protecting these endangered birds of prey.
Our Jersey Central Power & Light subsidiary partners with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to boost the declining American Kestrel population in that state. Nesting boxes have been placed on utility poles in prime kestrel habitats to replace the declining number of natural nesting sites.
Responsible Vegetation Management and Reforestation
For the seventeenth time, FirstEnergy has been named a Tree Line USA Utility by the National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters. This award program recognizes utility companies for excellence in tree-care and vegetation-management programs.
Reforestation is important to FirstEnergy because forests enable natural sequestration for CO2. We are involved in a reforestation project with the Ohio Division of Forestry in Sandusky County, Ohio. Nearly 30,000 seedlings were planted on this 69-acre site in 2001. In addition to serving as wildlife habitat and helping to prevent soil erosion, these trees will absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. By the time the trees are 70 years old, they will have absorbed an estimated 4,860 tons of CO2.
Hike and bike trails in Summit County
One example of participation in our communities is a collaboration with Ohio Metro Parks serving Summit County to pave the way to extend bike and hike trails throughout the area. The program began in 1971 to access the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Metro Parks. Over the years, adjoining community parks also have been linked by roads and trailways. This program has allowed us to build needed power lines in the area, while providing bike paths and green space. The partnership combines natural habitat with conservation, while remaining park funds are spent on other environmental efforts. Visit the parks and see all they have to offer: