PG&E Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report 2021

COVID-19 Response

Natural Resource Stewardship

As one of the largest landowners in California, environmental stewardship is essential to our business. We work to protect threatened and endangered species and their habitats, safeguard watershed lands that we have committed to preserve in perpetuity and manage forested lands to minimize the threat of wildfires.

Our Approach

As we provide safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy to customers, we also strive to be responsible stewards of the lands we own and where we operate. This includes protecting endangered species and enhancing the habitat at three PG&E facilities where we have Safe Harbor Agreements: Antioch Dunes in Contra Costa County, Tulare Hill in Santa Clara County and PG&E’s hydro lands in Shasta County.

PG&E also employs Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) to protect threatened and federally designated endangered species and their habitats. Our entire service area now has federal coverage for endangered species most likely to be found near our gas and electric infrastructure.

  • Our San Francisco Bay Area HCP protects 18 wildlife species and 13 plant species. Through this plan, PG&E maintains and operates gas and electric infrastructure throughout the nine Bay Area counties while protecting endangered wildlife, plant species and their habitats.
  • Our San Joaquin Valley HCP protects 23 wildlife and 42 plant species within nine counties of the San Joaquin Valley.
  • We recently completed a Multiple-Region HCP with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

For California-designated endangered species, PG&E is working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on 30-year programmatic permits. These permits will provide coverage for operations and maintenance activities within the Bay Area, Mojave and select regions in the Central Valley and Central Coast.

PG&E maintains 52,000 acres of forested land, partnering with local communities in wildfire prevention programs and collecting and storing seeds from PG&E forested lands for future restoration purposes.

Additionally, as part of our Land Conservation Commitment, PG&E is permanently protecting more than 140,000 acres through the donations of fee title and conservation easements on watershed lands to public agencies and qualified conservation organizations. An independent nonprofit organization, the Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council, identifies the organizations that receive these donations.

Given the state’s increasing wildfire risk, Pacific Gas and Electric Company is also working with the other utilities and the State Water Resources Control Board on a permit to address certain certifications of operation and maintenance on gas and electric facilities requiring dredge and fill activities.

2020 Milestones

To expedite and streamline critical wildfire safety and infrastructure work while protecting endangered species and public lands, we achieved the following:

  • Obtained a programmatic special use permit for eight National Parks in PG&E’s service area. These permits facilitate expedited work review by the parks and allow PG&E to conduct wildfire safety and other operations and maintenance activities with pre-negotiated resource protection measures. These one-year renewable permits are a precursor to a longer-term agreement for all PG&E facilities on national park lands.
  • Implemented year two of our five-year special use permit from the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which enables PG&E to conduct wildfire safety and other important maintenance activities in the park, the most visited National Park in the United States. It was the first programmatic permit of this kind for the National Park Service.
  • Signed near-term agreement with California State Parks to govern PG&E’s work more efficiently on the nearly 100 state parks in our service area.
  • Obtained an extension of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) policy to conduct wildfire risk reduction work on infrastructure crossing BLM-managed public lands. The policy, which was extended an additional five years, allows PG&E to facilitate and expedite operations and maintenance activities necessary to reduce wildfire risk by conducting activities without prior authorization; instead, PG&E is required to notify the appropriate BLM Field Office within 30 days of completing the work. PG&E also continues to work with BLM on a long-term programmatic right of way renewal process and operations and maintenance plan.
  • Applied for a state permit, which will designate conditions for PG&E’s operations and maintenance activities for the next 30 years across the nine Bay Area counties. The permit will apply to the California Tiger Salamander, Alameda Whip Snake and Freshwater Shrimp.

In support of our Land Conservation Commitment, PG&E:

  • Permanently protected 13,247 acres of land by completing 12 Land Conservation Commitment transactions. Fee donations were completed on six separate PG&E properties, including the transfer of a youth camp in the Sierras to the San Joaquin County Office of Education. Other fee property recipients included the Fall River Resource Conservation District, Madera County, Maidu Summit Consortium and U.S. Forest Service. Conservation easements were recorded on six separate PG&E properties.

We also achieved a number of milestones related to our HCPs and other conservation commitments within PG&E’s service area:

  • Completed the Multi-Regional HCP with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which allows our long-term operations and maintenance activities to proceed without additional permitting across 34 counties in California. The plan also creates a mechanism to protect 24 animal and 12 plant species, 35 of which are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. PG&E is now the first investor-owned utility with HCPs covering our service area for a 30-year term.
  • Conserved 2,168 acres of species habitat across PG&E’s service area for six different threatened or endangered species.
  • Actively managed more than 3,600 acres across 32 properties for a variety of species and habitats. This effort is related to new and ongoing conservation commitments.
  • Secured and maintained the rights to conservation and preservation for 3,736 acres of habitat for various resources. These future transactions are related to ongoing HCP development efforts and existing HCP conservation goals.
  • Purchased 53 acres of species, habitat or wetland credits for individual and programmatic permits. This represents conservation of habitat for five different threatened or endangered species and three riparian/wetland habitat types.
  • Restored, enhanced or created nearly 100 acres of riparian and species habitat. This represents restoration, enhancement or creation of habitat for four threatened or endangered species.

Measuring Progress

PG&E restores and protects environmental habitats to fulfill state and federal regulatory requirements and to support voluntary environmental initiatives. In 2020, our efforts protected or restored 2,319 acres of habitat, as well as managed over 3,600 acres of existing restoration or conservation projects.

Protected and Restored Habitat Footnote 1
2018 2019 2020
Acres set aside and protected 13,971 acres 8,060 acres 2,221 acres
Acres of restored habitat 716 acres 162 acres 98 acres
  • 1. PG&E undertook these activities to meet various regulatory requirements.1

Protecting Birds

Since 2002, PG&E has made more than 36,810 existing power poles and towers bird-safe. In that time, we have also retrofitted nearly 38,250 power poles in areas where bird injuries or fatalities or bird-related outages have occurred. In 2020, we replaced more than 3,600 poles in designated “Raptor Concentration Zones” and built them to avian-safe construction guidelines.

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This eagle in Milpitas in Santa Clara County is now safer, thanks to technology PG&E installed on power poles there.

Photo: Alfred Bruckner