For nearly 25 years, Mike Garrity has been passionately working to protect the environment, but stumbled almost by accident into his career while serving in the Air Force. “I was assigned to a civil engineering unit when many of the federal environmental regulations began rolling out in the late 80s and early 90s. It became my responsibility to ensure the work that was being done complied with all the new rules. I’ve been working to protect the environment ever since.”
In his six years with the company, he has lead the team that ensures that planning for all projects including repairs, upgrades and new construction are compliant with all state and federal environmental regulations. His responsibilities include making sure all required environmental permits are acquired and all necessary threatened and endangered species impact studies are completed and approved before any work to electrical infrastructure begins.
“Not only do we need to comply with environmental regulations while we are working in environmentally sensitive areas, we need to make sure our day-to-day operations are happening in an environmentally-friendly manner. Our biologists monitor bird nests and other animal habitats that reside on our property on a daily basis to ensure that they are not impacted by our operations.”
The environmental team also participates in other projects that help to protect environmentally sensitive land and threatened and endangered vegetative and wildlife species like building ponds and habitats to help tiger salamanders spawn, building osprey nests on electrical poles, locating and monitoring swamp pink populations along right of ways and helping the vegetation management team plan out their pruning schedules.
Mike was recently asked to help out with a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) study that centered around an 8 ½ week old fledgling bald eagle found nesting in Galloway Township. The bird was banded and fitted with a solar-powered GPS “backpack” that not only tracks the bird’s location and emails results back to the scientists. The backpack is designed to safely expand as the bird grows.
“We not only do what we are supposed to do, we try and go above and beyond what is required to help protect the environment in New Jersey.”
Prior to joining Atlantic City Electric, he was a Principal Environmental Specialist with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and has also served as Commissioner for the Camden County Environmental Commission.
Pictured above: Mike, far left, with Dr. Erica Miller of Rutgers University, Susan Coan, Atlantic City Electric Region Vice President and the eaglet.