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Dr. Christopher Nowak
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Rights-of-way vegetation managers are increasingly focused on environmental stewardship. Managers are interested in practices that will produce and demonstrate economically-sound, socially-responsible, and environmentally-sensitive decision making and operational practice. Environmental Management Systems have developed over the past decade to frame and advertise organizational efforts in environmental stewardship, but, to date, these systems have been only strategic/tactical in nature. They have not directly pertained to operations and field performance. In this paper, we present a new system for use in framing environmental stewardship activities via a set of performance standards that combine strategic, tactical and operational-level elements of vegetation management on rights-of-way. These performance standards are based on some of the process- and procedure-oriented elements from EMSs, planning elements from forestry certification systems, and a six- step operational-level model we developed for Integrated Vegetation Management. To date, we have a set of performance standards that include 10 principles and 42 criteria. We present the performance standards to stimulate critique and discussion of what environmental stewardship is for rights-of-way vegetation management.

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