Promoting sustainable resource management principles and practices along rights-of-way

SMUD Earns Re-Accreditation as a Right-of-Way Steward

SMUD Earns Re-Accreditation as a Right-of-Way Steward
SMUD joins utilities in leading the way towards responsible ROW vegetation management 

21 February 2023, (Minneapolis, MN) - The Right-of-Way Stewardship Council (ROWSC) is pleased to announce that Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has successfully achieved re-accreditation as a "Right-of-Way Steward" for sustainable integrated vegetation management of their electric transmission right-of-way systems.

“SMUD is being recognized with the “Right-of-Way Steward Award” for leadership in receiving this prestigious re-accreditation,” said Lew Payne, Chair of the Right-of-Way Stewardship Council.  SMUD is one of only seven utility companies currently qualified to be recognized with ROWSC accreditation.


The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) provides electricity to Sacramento County, California, and a small portion of adjacent Placer County. It is one of the ten largest publicly owned utilities in the United States. SMUD has approximately 468 miles of electric transmission lines which traverse approximately 200 miles of right-of-way. SMUD’s vegetation management Program takes place in two areas: Eldorado National Forest (UARP, Upper American River Parkway) and Sacramento County. The program developed with the USDA Forest Service for the UARP is implemented throughout both areas.  SMUD was first recognized by the Right-of-Way Stewardship Council for its excellent IVM program in 2015. Based on annual desk reviews and a mid-cycle field review, the council has continued that recognition. 

“This accreditation exemplifies SMUD as an industry leader and can contribute to positive relations with stakeholders including landowners, communities, and coordinating land management and regulatory agencies,” said Eric Brown, SMUD, T&D Manager Grid Assets – Vegetation Management.

Specific highlights from the ROWSC reaccreditation audit included SMUD’s support of high-profile local civic activities, including the Community Shade Program and partnership with Sacramento Tree Foundation; active partnerships with Sacramento County Parks on improving wildlife, reducing noxious weeds, and developing pollinator habitat; and a high level of willingness to adjust vegetation management practices on private and agency lands to address concerns.  SMUD personnel have been strong leaders in the industry, and SMUD is providing leadership in fuel reduction demonstration projects for other utilities in fire prone regions.

The ROWSC program provides standards of excellence for environmental stewardship and presents the opportunity for utility companies to demonstrate their commitment to such standards. While initially focused on the North American high-voltage power grid, the program is adaptable to other ROW users.


The ROWSC has established rigorous management standards based on a set of predetermined principles, requires a formal application process, and enlists third-party auditors to ensure compliance with the standards. The ROWSC Accreditation Standards for Assessing Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) Excellence establish the technical requirements for applicants seeking ROW Steward accreditation. The standards are applied in an independent audit of an applicant's integrated vegetation management program to aid in identifying excellence.


The Right-of-Way Stewardship Council extends warm congratulations to SMUD on receiving this award and for being a recognized industry leader in sustainable ROW vegetation management.



Right-of-Way Stewardship Council

The Right-of-Way Stewardship Council (ROWSC) is an accreditation program that has established standards for responsible right-of-way vegetation management along corridors. The program promotes the application of Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) and best management practices to utility vegetation managers in order to maintain power system reliability and address ecological concerns.

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