Kentucky Power Big Sandy wetlands project attracts butterflies, wildlife

LOUISA, Ky. – Across U.S. 23 from the Big Sandy power plant, a natural habitat to attract pollinators and beneficial insects, butterflies, dragonflies, birds and wildlife is flourishing.

The mitigation project includes the enhancement of 2.10 acres of existing wetland and the creation of an additional 0.33 acres. The wetlands project was proposed in 2017 as part of the Big Sandy Fly Ash Pond Closure project. Once the Big Sandy facility converted from a coal-fired plant to one that uses natural gas, coal ash was no longer generated. Construction to expand a naturally occurring wetlands area began in late 2018. Milkweed, cattails, grasses and other native plants were added to improve the property. Months later, the area is thriving and resembles many other undeveloped areas across eastern Kentucky.

“We planted 850 shrubs and 1,500 other plants and it is all protected,” said Steve Wells, an environmental engineer for American Electric Power. “We’re seeing butterflies, insects, frogs, birds, deer and other wildlife. The area is abuzz with activity.”

Wetlands are highly productive and biologically diverse systems that enhance water quality, control erosion, maintain stream flows, sequester carbon, and provide a home to at least one third of all threatened and endangered species, according to the U.S. National Park Service.

Although the Big Sandy wetlands project is not open to the public, the project provides a public benefit. In eastern Kentucky and much of Appalachia, wetlands can help reduce flooding by acting as a sponge to help keep excess rainwater from spilling into neighborhoods. In addition, such areas attract pollinators, such as bees and some birds, bats, and other insects, that play a crucial role in flowering plant reproduction and in the production of most fruits and vegetables.

One of the plants now growing in the protected area is milkweed, an essential plant for the survival of Monarch butterflies. When the butterflies migrate north from Mexico, they look for milkweed on which to lay their eggs. The eggs hatch into tiny caterpillars, which grow by eating the milkweed plants. Once fully grown, each caterpillar attaches itself to something – often a stem or leaf in the garden – and begins the transformation in a butterfly. This life process only happens with milkweed.

A recent inspection of the project by the Kentucky Division of Environmental Protection’s Water Quality Division found the wetlands comply with state requirements for Water Quality Certification. Allstar Ecology, an environmental consulting firm based in West Virginia, is assisting Kentucky Power with the project.

“We are extremely proud of our long-standing environmental stewardship at Big Sandy and other Kentucky Power facilities,” said Brett Mattison, Kentucky Power’s president and chief operating officer. “We take seriously our commitment to be good community partners in the areas we serve in eastern Kentucky.”

The Big Sandy Plant generates about 285 megawatts of electricity for Kentucky Power customers.

Kentucky Power, with headquarters in Ashland, provides service to about 167,000 customers in all or part of 20 eastern Kentucky counties, including Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Clay, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Magoffin, Martin, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Rowan. Kentucky Power is an operating company in the AEP system, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million regulated customers in 11 states. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system. AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.








More From Kentucky Power

Mobile App Learn more

The Power is in Your Hands

Sign Up Now Pay Online for Free with Paperless Billing

Pay Online for Free with Paperless Billing

Use Online Form Report Outages On Your Mobile Phone

Report Outages On Your Mobile Phone

How We Restore Power Learn more

How We Restore Power

Visit AEP.com
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of the AEP Terms and Conditions. View our Privacy Policy. © 1996-2019 American Electric Power. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy for Kentucky Power, a unit of American Electric Power (AEP)


This Privacy Policy applies only to KentuckyPower.com and the Kentucky Power customer mobile app (com.aep.customerapp.kentuckypower). Other AEP websites and apps may be governed by their own privacy policies, appropriate to the uses and needs of each. Throughout the site or app, we may provide links to resources and sites that are not part of KentuckyPower.com or the Kentucky Power customer mobile app. This Privacy Policy does not apply to those resources and sites.


By using this site or app, you consent to the terms of this Privacy Policy. Whenever you submit information via this site or app, you agree to the collection, use, and disclosure of that information in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

Information Collected

  1. Passively collected information

    During your use of this site or app, we may collect anonymous information about your visit here through the use of server logs, cookies, scripts, tracking pixels and other Web traffic tracking systems. This information is aggregated and used to improve user experience through analysis of user activities. This information is never combined with any of the personally identifiable information you may provide in your use of the features of this site or app.
  2. Personally identifiable information

    On certain forms of this site or app, you may be asked to provide information about yourself or your account with us, either to identify yourself to us or to request a service from us. In each case, we will inform you what information is provided at your option and what information is required to complete the transaction or activity you are engaged in. If you are unwilling to provide this required information, you will be unable to complete the requested transaction.

Use and disclosure of information

The information you provide to us will be used to respond to requests you may make for services. Some or all of this information may be added to your permanent account record and may be used for research purposes.

In addition, we may use elements of this information in the following situations:

  1. We may transfer the information to Kentucky Power’s affiliates and subsidiaries, unless such transfer is prohibited by law;
  2. We may transfer the information as part of a merger, consolidation, acquisition, divestiture or other corporate restructuring (including bankruptcy);
  3. We may make the information available to third parties who are providing the product, service or information that you have requested (but not your password);
  4. We may make such information available to third parties who are providing services to Kentucky Power (for example, providing the information to third parties performing computer-related services for Kentucky Power);
  5. We may use the information to communicate with you about products and services that may be of interest to you.
  6. We may disclose the information if we form a good-faith belief that disclosure of such information is necessary to investigate, prevent, or take action regarding any illegal activities or regarding interference with the operation of our site or violation of its terms of use; or
  7. We may disclose the information if we believe that disclosure is required by law or regulation or in response to a subpoena or other order of a court or other governmental agency.

Kentucky Power uses Flurry Analytics Service (provided by Yahoo) in order to improve its mobile apps. Flurry’s privacy policy governs the use of this information.

Also, Kentucky Power reserves the right to share any aggregated information (i.e., non-personally identifiable information) with any third parties for any reason, unless prohibited by law.

We will not sell, rent or otherwise disclose the information we gather about you or your account to any third party, except as outlined in this Privacy Policy.


Kentucky Power takes reasonable steps to protect your personally identifiable information as it is transferred to us, through the use of Web technologies such as the Secure Sockets Layer and others. However, no Internet transmission of information is ever completely secure or error-free. In particular, e-mail sent to or from Kentucky Power may not be secure.

How to Reach Us

If you would like to update your personally identifiable information or if you have questions about this privacy policy, please contact us.

Changes to This Policy

Kentucky Power reserves the right to change this Privacy Policy at any time. If this Privacy Policy changes, the revised policy will be posted to this site. Please review this Privacy Policy before you provide any personally identifiable information through this site. Use of our web site after the posting of a revised privacy policy constitutes your consent to the revised policy.

This policy was last revised on December 13, 2017.

Close ×

Sign Up For Alerts

Subscribing to Kentucky Power alerts gives you instant notification for:

  • Billing & Payments - avoid late payments and disconnection
  • Outage Updates - find out if there's an outage at your address and when power will be back on

Win an Xbox One with Alerts!

Enroll in alerts to be eligible to win. Subscribing to I&M alerts gives you instant notification for:

  • Billing & Payments - avoid late payments and disconnection
  • Outage Updates - find out if there's an outage at your address and when power will be back on

Loading video...