Avian Protection Plan

By: Nikki Heck

Nikki Heck is an example of how one person can make a big difference within a large corporation. For nearly a decade, Nikki has shown environmental leadership and personal dedication by working to protect avian species on AltaLink’s electric system. Prior to Nikki’s work, the impacts resulting from avian–power line interactions were virtually unknown, despite birds causing an estimated 20 per cent of all power outages. Through the implementation of Canada’s first Avian Protection Plan, AltaLink is now considered a leader in avian-power line protection. This program is a powerful example of how an environmental initiative can be directly linked to increased company performance. Select successes of the program include a 95 per cent reduction in avian caused power outages in substations, identification and mitigation of high risk bird-collision locations, retrofits of power poles with potential to cause electrocution, stewardship and education of peers, youth, policy makers and electric utilities across Canada.