By JASON FRANKSTEINAAP and JULIAN SEABURGAL-LOPEZAssociated PressAssociated PressBURLINGTON, Vt.
(AP) — A Vermont utility has made public a plant database containing plant names, photos and other information from a decades-old database of Vermont’s plant registrations.
The Vermont Public Service Commission said Tuesday that it has created a public database of plant names and plant photos for the last 70 years and has digitized the information to create a searchable, searchable database.
The database, created in the early 1990s, is now open to the public, said Mary O’Malley, chair of the commission’s plant identification division.
The commission said the project was part of an effort to provide a tool for the public to help protect plants from being poisoned or destroyed by polluting industries.
The project was completed in the late 1980s and has been in the works since 1991, said Peter Poynter, commission spokesman.
The Vermont Public Power Authority, which owns Vermont’s electricity grid, has not commented on the project.
“I think it’s a great effort to preserve our plants and keep them safe,” Poynar said.
Poynar wouldn’t say whether the Vermont Public service Authority was involved in the project or whether it is using the information.
The utility says the database will help consumers and researchers.
“It’s really a tool to help us preserve our forests and our natural resources and keep our state clean,” said David Lebbon, the utility’s president.
Paying homage to the Vermont plant registry, Vermont Public Services Commissioner Mary OMalley said the utility has created an online searchable directory of plants that has been on file since 1971.
O’Malley said she hopes the database provides information about the plants and that the state will look to use it for future projects.
The plant database, which includes plant names such as Pikes Peak and Fortuna, has no identifying information, but can be used to locate the plants.
Powell’s Pines in Mount Holly, Vermont, for instance, was in the database in 2015, and was listed as listed in the state’s plant registry in 2018, according to the commission.
The department of environment, water and transportation said in a statement that it is committed to protecting Vermont’s plants and ecosystem and will work with the utility to preserve the state.
Pryor Pines, a Pikes Pines native plant in the Vermont state forest, is listed as a plant in Vermont’s official plant registry.
The state is home to more than 1,000 plants, including trees, shrubs, berries, berries and many other plants that are endangered or threatened, according, the Vermont Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The data is open to public access.