Entergy works to fully comply with all environmental regulations including those that govern wildlife conservation, as stated in our commitment to biodiversity. We aim to be a good steward of the land, wildlife, and natural resources in our care. We strive not only to eliminate negative impacts on biodiversity from our operations but also to promote a net positive impact where possible. By complying with local, state, and federal regulations; incorporating best management practices; and promoting stewardship through public partnerships; we are committed to maintaining, enhancing, and conserving biodiversity in the areas we serve.
Threats and impacts to biodiversity are identified as part of the investment approval process before we undertake major construction projects or acquisitions. Risk identification and management processes are required to avoid, minimize, or mitigate such risks as needed to complete construction, commissioning, and transition to operation. Each business function’s environmental leadership team works closely with Entergy project managers to ensure biodiversity issues are managed appropriately.
Since 2011, our avian protection program has successfully created a more avian-friendly environment by retrofitting problematic existing distribution poles, implementing new distribution avian construction standards, and replacing insulators on transmission structures. Since 2014 our new distribution construction has met nationally recognized avian protection standards. Our program includes annual training of our staff, a reporting system to track incidents, and retrofitting of problem poles. Protecting wildlife from potential impacts with our facilities, such as wires and substations, also improves reliability for our customers by avoiding potential outages caused by birds and other animals.
In Arkansas, where Entergy uses renewable hydropower from the Ouachita River to produce clean electricity, the company manages over 9,000 acres of property, including 254 miles of shoreline, around two lakes created by Remmel and Carpenter dams. Lake Catherine and Lake Hamilton provide a wide variety of recreational activities for both residents and visitors. Our obligation through licensing by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission includes maintaining the lakes and the surrounding area’s scenic, environmental, and aesthetic attributes to standards similar to national parks. See our FERC-approved shoreline management plan.
Our work has accomplished a net positive change in the lakes’ biodiversity. We work closely with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to maintain healthy fish populations. We protect the aquatic habitat by preserving the natural lake bed and discouraging invasive aquatic vegetation. We work with the local stormwater departments to limit runoff into the lakes and encourage the use of best management practices to limit runoff from neighboring areas. We discourage invasive vegetation by drawing down during the winter and using sterile grass carp as our primary control measures.
Entergy’s utility customer base and infrastructure are in the mid-south United States – an area susceptible to storm impacts potentially made worse by the loss of coastal wetlands and sea level rise. This area is experiencing one of the fastest rates of wetlands loss in the world, especially along coastal Louisiana. Recognizing the importance of maintaining and restoring Louisiana’s barrier islands and coastal wetlands, we invest in restoration projects to promote greater resiliency in our service territory and enhance biodiversity and local ecosystems.
Since 2016, grants from Entergy’s Environmental Initiatives Fund have helped restore or conserve over 28,000 acres of wetlands and other environmentally threatened areas. An example is our work in Pointe-aux-Chenes in south Louisiana, a last line of defense protecting more than 200,000 residents against storm surge and rising sea levels. To strengthen and rebuild this natural buffer, Entergy partnered with Restore the Earth Foundation to help plant 5,000 acres of bald cypress trees in the area, with Entergy funding 225 acres planted to date. Those acres will generate more than 45,000 metric tonnes of carbon emissions reductions. Entergy’s support has also provided for the retrofit of two flood-control freshwater diversion pumps at Pointe-aux-Chenes to create an innovative system that, when not needed for pumping out flood water during significant weather events, returns vital nutrients from the Mississippi River to nearby Bayou Terrebonne. The pump project is now delivering 10-15 billion gallons per year into the wetlands, a freshwater diversion that helps increase sediment to build up land and nutrients to support the growth and health of the replanted cypress forest.
Entergy also funded the planting of 10,000 native bald cypress trees, restoring 100 acres in the area of the Maurepas Land Bridge. This re-established forest will generate more than 20,000 metric tonnes of carbon emission reductions as well as restore wildlife habitat and reduce the risk of storm surge for surrounding communities. With Entergy’s support, Restore the Earth is conducting an EcoMetrics accounting and monetization analysis of the environmental, social and economic benefit impacts of this reforestation initiative.
Entergy has partnered with the Nature Conservancy in Louisiana to support community-based habitat restoration of Grand Isle’s maritime forests. Grand Isle is Louisiana’s only inhabited barrier island and the only barrier island that supports this last remaining live oak forest community. Participants in restoration activities are recruited from school programs, universities, residents, and volunteers. Activities include planting of seedlings, removal of invasive species, and outreach and engagement at the annual Migratory Bird Festival. More than 100 species of songbirds and 35 warblers use the forest on Grand Isle, and this project will result in the restoration and management of over 120 acres of maritime forest and salt marsh habitat in and around the Lafitte Woods Preserve.
In New Orleans, a grant from Entergy is helping the Sankofa Community Development Corp. study and maintain 40 acres of wetland habitat at the Sankofa Wetland Park and Nature Trail, located in the Lower Ninth Ward area adjacent to the Bayou Bienvenue Wetland Triangle and Mississippi River. The project will reduce flooding by storing water during rain events, reduce subsidence, and improve ecological integrity through the restoration of wetland habitat.
As part of our efforts to support reforestation in the communities we serve, Entergy partners with the Arbor Day Foundation to provide free trees to customers. Trees are delivered to customer homes along with guidance on where to plant them to maximize their energy-saving benefits. An interactive online program helps customers determine the best places to plant their trees for shade and other energy-saving benefits, as well as making sure power lines are avoided. Since the program’s inception in 2018 through our spring 2022 giveaway, 17,700 customers have received free trees to plant at home. Entergy’s investment of $501,100 is projected to result in savings and community benefits exceeding $9.6 million. Our tree giveaways also are projected to avoid or capture more than 91 million pounds of carbon, absorb nearly 265,000 pounds of other air pollutants, and filter more than 408 million gallons of stormwater over the next 20 years.
Entergy will continue working to enhance our natural environment. Preserving, restoring, and improving natural systems, as well as sustainably managing the natural assets we own, provides water management, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration benefits. We continue proactive efforts through our biodiversity peer group, a team of environmental professionals focused on protecting wildlife and enhancing the natural environment.
In 2001, we established the Entergy Environmental Initiatives Fund to support environmentally beneficial projects with an emphasis on climate change mitigation and solutions. Since that time, Entergy has established and strengthened relationships with environmental partners by funding a variety of creative and innovative projects through the EIF, including CO2 capture/sequestration, habitat restoration, wetland restoration, reforestation, water quality, energy efficiency, waste minimization, voluntary CO2 offset purchases, community development for environmental outreach/education/demonstration, and creative environmental and energy-efficiency commercialization.
Since 2001, almost $42 million of Entergy shareholder contributions have been invested in environmentally beneficial projects and programs through the Environmental Initiatives Fund. A description of projects funded through the EIF in 2022 is available here. For a history of projects funded through the EIF, click here.
To submit an environmental improvement project for consideration of funding through Entergy's Environmental Initiatives Fund, visit here for timing and the most recent request for proposals.