Clearing and Vegetation Management

MEA is committed to providing safe, reliable power to our members. Effective vegetative management is vital in the effort to reduce tree-related outages. For the safety of the public and crews, please keep clear of the work zone while crews are accessing and clearing rights-of-way. For questions related to clearing our rights-of-way, please contact our clearing department by email at clearingdepartment@mea.coop or call 907-761-9269.

Clearing Process

MEA currently works on a 7-year clearing cycle to safely mitigate hazardous trees and vegetation in the rights-of-way. These proactive clearing efforts have greatly helped reduce outages and improve power reliability for our members. The standard right of way measures 30 feet (or 15 feet to each side from the center of the pole), although some easements can be as little as 20 feet up to 40 feet wide. MEA will be clearing all vegetation within the full width of the easement with mowing machines, bucket trucks and hand cutting.  All trees and brush in the easement will be disposed of with a chipping machine. Logs of 6 inches in diameter will be stacked along the easement for use by the land owner. Stumps no higher than 4 inches may be left. Please remove all items from easement in the area including vehicles, animals, equipment and unlock all fences and gates.

For the safety of the public and MEA’s crews, please keep clear of the work zone while crews are accessing and clearing rights-of-way. Members are notified at minimum two weeks in advance of when clearing will occur in their area and a door hanger within 4 days of clearing activity on their property. To learn more about what MEA clears and for frequently asked questions about clearing, please review the MEA Vegetation Management Plan (pdf).

2021 Clearing Plans

This year MEA Clearing and Contract Crews will be focusing easement clearing efforts in the communities of Meadow Lakes, Big Lake and Houston along the Parks Highway, Sutton, and Hiland Road in Eagle River. Once clearing contracts are finalized in the Spring, we will update when crews will start clearing the rights-of-way. Members will receive an auto-call ahead of clearing activity in their neighborhood and a doorhanger at least four days prior of clearing activity near their property. Our goal is to cause the least amount of disruption in your area and we appreciate you keeping easements clear of debris, fences, and animals. If you have a Danger Tree located on your private property that you believe could fall into the power lines or electric equipment, please complete a Danger Tree Report and the Clearing Department will contact you for an assessment and free take down of the tree(s).

Common Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Q: What trees and vegetation are removed?
A: MEA clears the full width of the utility easement which typically ranges from 20 to 40 feet (feet are split in half from each side of the pole).During the process, crews safely clear the following:
• Trees located in the immediate easement,
• Trees blocking access to overhead or underground right of way,
• Trees that have contact with lines,
• Trees and vegetation that could come in contact with lines (both overhead and underground) and electrical equipment.

Q: How do I know what trees and vegetation are being cleared?
A:
Before clearing operations begin, MEA clearing crews conduct an inspection of the area and mark trees, vegetation and easement boundaries. Also called “flagging”, crews use different colored tape markings (biodegradable) to indicate future actions within the easement. Please refer to the graphic below for the meanings of the flagging colors.

Q: How are members notified about clearing that may impact them?
A:
MEA provides notification to members and property owners who may be impacted by clearing operations in their area with a postcard notification, auto-call and doorhangers well in advance of clearing activities. ). Members will receive an auto-call ahead of clearing activity in their neighborhood at least two weeks in advance and a doorhanger at least four days prior of clearing activity near their property.

Spruce Bark Beetle Danger Tree Mitigation

MEA is proactively working to remove danger Spruce Bark Beetle kill trees throughout our service territory. In 2019, clearing crews cleared more than 8,100 hazardous spruce bark beetle killed trees. Much of the clearing work in the summer will include take down of infested spruce bark beetle killed trees inside of the easements, especially in the highly infested areas throughout Willow and along Willow Fishhook Road.

Do you have a potentially hazardous spruce bark beetle tree on your property?

To take down spruce bark beetle killed trees outside of the easements, MEA must receive written permission from the property owner. MEA asks members to provide a danger tree report to help us in our efforts to mitigate hazardous spruce bark beetle killed trees and other vegetation that may impact our lines and equipment.

To report a Danger Tree on your property, please complete the Danger Tree Report fields located in the Safety section of our website.

For assistance with the Danger Tree Report form, please contact the MEA Clearing Department at 907-761-9269 or email clearingdepartment@mea.coop

Clearing Spruce Bark Beetle Killed Trees in our Service Territory

So far, MEA’s spruce bark beetle efforts have included:

  • Danger Tree Hotline – In 2019, MEA cleared more than 8,100 hazardous spruce bark beetle kill trees that were posing a threat to our powerlines and electrical systems many of which were reported by members through our Danger Tree Program. In 2018, more than 315 locations were visited by MEA clearing crews and crews cleared 910 spruce bark beetle kill trees.
  • Hazard Mitigation – In 2020 MEA’s clearing crews targeted spruce beetle kill danger trees that could damage power lines in the highly infested areas throughout Willow and along Willow Fishhook Road.
  • Cooperative efforts between the Mat-Su Borough, state and federal agencies, as well as local property owners, have allowed MEA access to conduct hazard mitigation beyond contractual right-of-ways along the Parks Highway. MEA continues to work with local property owners to seek permission to access private property as we work throughout these areas.
  • Project Commitment – 75% of MEA’s in-house clearing crew’s time has been diverted from traditional right-of-way clearing to address danger trees and spruce bark beetle concerns. In addition, MEA retains four contract crews who actively maintain traditional right-of-way clearing defined in MEA’s Vegetation Management Plan.
  • Electrical System Investments – MEA has made risk mitigation investments including protection devices located along powerlines to automatically deenergize any impacted sections of the line if there is a disruption of power.