The birds and the bees

Living in the Pacific Northwest brings many benefits. We enjoy lakes, forests, and wildlife at near every turn. And we’re known for our trees. Lots of them.

Managing power lines throughout our service territory is critical for fire prevention programs, soil and water quality, wildlife habitats—and delivering electricity. Because transmission lines are the ‘interstate highway’ of the electric grid, responsible for transferring electricity across broad regions, we must continually monitor conditions and make decisions on how to prevent outages. We call this ‘integrated vegetation management’ or IVM. Monitoring is done by way of helicopter, truck, ATV and by physically hiking the transmission system’s rights of way.

In addition to working to ensure reliable power, these efforts create ideal habitat and forage for elk, deer and moose and cover for nesting birds. Small mammals like rabbits and mice become food for raptors, such as eagles and hawks. The native wild flowers provide pollen and nectar for pollinators such as butterflies and bees. Dead stems become nesting sites or materials, large logs provide homes for amphibians like salamanders and frogs, and the ecosystem continues.

The 78,000-acre Craig Mountain is habitat to wildlife of all varieties, including elk, deer, turkey, rattlesnakes and bighorn sheep. Work on this transmission line started in 1961 and given its utility and the natural beauty that surrounds it, upgrading, maintaining, and optimizing this system takes continual investment, attention, and monitoring.

At the southern end of our transmission system, the Lolo Oxbow line runs south from Lewiston across the Salmon, Snake and Imnaha rivers, connecting with Idaho Power’s system and then travels on to the Oxbow dam.

Did you know?

A major blackout that occurred in 2003 cost the American economy somewhere between $7-10 billion and made critical infrastructure services unavailable. The offender? Overgrown trees.

Learn more about tree trimming and risk tree mitigation.


  1. Electric