Student research project offers practical recommendations for Manitoba Hydro | Assiniboine Community College
Narrow results:
Student research project offers practical recommendations for Manitoba Hydro

Student research project offers practical recommendations for Manitoba Hydro

Written On: 05 May, 2017
Category: Academic
Related programs:  Land & Water Management

Hydro transmission lines and suspension towers are a common sight across the Prairie landscape, carrying electricity to homes and communities across our province. However, few of us would say we give much thought to how this complex system is built and maintained.

For two Assiniboine students, vegetation maintenance along Manitoba Hydro’s 115 kV and 230 kV transmission lines was the basis for a capstone project they completed on the homestretch of their Land & Water Management diploma program. 

Sydney Brezden and Paiten Harapiak spent months researching and problem-solving ways to tackle real issues like overgrown vegetation, microclimate conditions and wildlife preservation. The result was a 60-page report and presentation that boils down to simple but effective approaches to address overall ecological health and sustainability while balancing economic advantages.

“We came up with four different recommendations to be made to Manitoba Hydro that will help reduce some of the negative effects that occur on transmission line right-of-ways by increasing habitat and reducing erosion,” said Harapiak.

The suggestions include applying tree girdling, which involves removing a strip of bark around the entire circumference of the tree, stunting future growth so it can’t grow any higher. Their plan also advocates for leaving those trees that need to be cut down in the area to offer animals protection from predators and poachers, and planting low-growth vegetation.

“That’s been a really big deal—especially in the north with hunters, trappers and poachers,” said Brezden. “It would aid in the camouflaging of the animals in the area.”

Brezden and Harapiak worked with mentors from Manitoba Hydro throughout the project. They encouraged coworkers to attend the final presentation of the student’s work.

 “A huge amount of Hydro workers came,” said Brezden. “Those who are actually out in the field doing this work on the lines came as well to see everything, and they gave us great feedback.” 

The students’ recommendations were designed to be in compliance with existing restrictions and requirements outlined by Manitoba Hydro and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).

The final report will be shared with Manitoba Hydro for consideration.

Below: Sydney Brezden (left) and Paiten Harapiak (right) presented their research and recommendation this past month in a trade show environment.

Sydney Brezden (left) and Paiten Harapiak (right) presented their research and recommendation this past month in a trade show environment.