Protecting and enhancing our communities for future generations
At OUC, we take great pride in serving one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the nation. That’s why we work hard each and every day to protect and enhance Central Florida’s environment.
Our environmental team is committed to protecting wildlife and their habitats around our infrastructure and collecting relevant data that contributes to scientific knowledge of Florida’s natural heritage.
Our education partnerships and projects focus on conservation, restoration and awareness, to ensure future generations will have a prosperous and beautiful place to call home.
Prescribed Burns Protect & Preserve Habitat for Endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker
OUC will conduct prescribed burns of 1,600 acres of vegetation at the Stanton Energy Center. Designed to maintain essential habitat necessary for the survival of the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker, the burns are required by the United States Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. In addition, the burns will help reduce the danger of wildfires.
Map of Red-cockaded Woodpecker Nesting Locations
Read the News Article
Read the Blog Article
Video Footage at Stanton Energy Center
Anatomy of a Prescribed Burn
Prescribed burn managers construct a fireline from which they set a down wind backfire. This creates the backline. Backfire burning provides a lower temperature burn and lower mortality to existing long leaf pine trees. Crew members also patrol the fire to ensure that the burn is contained. Click image to enlarge.
Understanding the Importance of a Prescribed Burn
Prescribed Burns Questions and Answers
Learn more about prescribed burns, how they can mean fewer extreme wildfires and more in the frequently asked question section.
Go To FAQs
Prescribed Burn Locations
Below are where the prescribed burns will take place on a zone by zone basis:
Wildlife Refuge & Habitat
More than two-thirds of the five-square-mile Stanton Energy Center site consists of undeveloped, protected wildlife refuge and habitat for endangered species like the rare red-cockaded woodpecker.
OUC’s extensive forest management program also has created a habitat for a variety of wildlife, including eagles, deer, red foxes, alligators, gopher tortoises, sandhill cranes and red-wing blackbirds.
By enhancing about 200 acres of wetlands, OUC has restored portions of the site to historic conditions, while creating nearly three acres of new wetlands. The reforestation process has also improved acres of upland long-leaf pine forest.
Protecting Avian Wildlife
With more than 66,000 distribution poles in OUC’s service area, ensuring the safety of bird populations that fly around our lines remains a priority. Many build nests on power poles and structures, which increases risks for both the birds and our electric system.
As one of the first utilities in Florida to create an Avian Protection Plan, our environmental, engineering and electric distribution teams use computer modeling to track nesting locations and foraging behaviors of bald eagles. We also install protective coverings on conductors, transformers and poles to help protect these beautiful creatures and improve safety and reliability for our customers.
Reforestation of Stanton Energy Center
In 2018, OUC employees and volunteers began replanting sections where over time, trees have thinned due to storms and age.
More than 14,000 longleaf pine trees have been meticulously selected to improve the habitat that supports a very successful colony of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. In addition to improving the natural attributes of the site, the trees help recycle carbon dioxide from the air.
Our team of environmental specialists measure and track how this process offsets CO2 emissions from the electric generating units to reduce our carbon footprint.