A $10,000 charitable grant from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is helping grape growers in the Central Coast maintain sustainable pest control and also keep birds safe around power lines.
The charitable grant funded the construction and purchase of “owl nest boxes” to be distributed to Central Coast Vineyard Team (CCVT) Members. These boxes, installed in vineyards, can help attract barn owls, the natural predator for pesky rodents. The nest boxes – built on the Central Coast with a portion of funds to benefit a local high school science club – are intended to provide a safe home for the owls when installed properly.
“We’re trying to educate customers and get the word out that utility poles are not the appropriate place to install nest boxes.” said Mike Best, PG&E’s Avian Protection Plan Program Manager.
Anne Jackson, Senior Environmental Program Manager with PG&E’s Environmental Policy Department, said she and team of other PG&E’ers started working on this program about three and half years ago. Now with the success of other pilots, they are looking to expand its reach to benefit more customers.
“This has been huge success in other areas. We’re excited to expand the program into the Central Coast,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to educate growers about the use and proper placement of owl boxes as a sustainable farming practice. The program is receiving a lot of positive feedback and growers from all over are contacting us with interest in expanding it to their community.”
“This program is a great example of how our community partnerships and investments can help address the needs of our customers while also supporting our business objectives.” said Diane Ross-Leech, Environmental Policy Director.