January 4, 2023

ATC awards $65,000 to 18 recipients for planting projects

ATC has collectively awarded $65,000 to 18 recipients across its service area to plant trees and low-growing vegetation through its Community Planting and Pollinator Habitat programs. Now in its 10th year, ATC has given over 300 community awards for these projects totaling more than $625,000.

Vegetation funded through the Community Planting Program requires that communities plant trees outside of high-voltage transmission line rights-of-way. Low-growing, compatible vegetation funded through the Pollinator Habitat Program allows entities to cultivate species within the rights-of-way that benefit pollinator food and habitat. Both programs help maintain electric reliability of the transmission system by keeping tall-growing vegetation outside the rights-of-way.

Recipients of both programs commit to comply with ATC’s maintenance standards for all current and future planting plans, and urban forestry activities near high-voltage electric transmission lines.

Pollinator Habitat Program Recipients

“Part of the reason for the recent decline in pollinator populations is due to loss of habitat,” said ATC Environmental Project Manager Johanna Sievewright. “The Pollinator Habitat Program promotes vegetation that is both compatible with our vegetation management practices and it provides habitat for pollinators, which use the utility corridor as a flight path.”

The following entities received grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 to support pollinator habitat projects:

Community Planting Program Recipients

“We recognize that trees and vegetation are among the features that make communities special places for residents and visitors,” said ATC Maintenance Program Manager Adam Helminiak. “While we can’t allow trees or tall‑growing vegetation in our rights‑of‑way, ATC’s Community Planting Program encourages and supports communities to plant trees and vegetation that will beautify communities in a way that doesn’t compromise the safety and reliability of the electric transmission system.”

The following entities received amounts ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 for planting projects on public property, outside the rights-of-way:

  • Village of Bayside plans to add more trees throughout Ellsworth Park, the village’s main park, including around the tennis courts.
  • City of Brillion will increase its tree diversity by planting new trees in its Horn Park, Heritage Park, Peters Park, along Main Street and in front of the city’s Historical Society.
  • City of Greenfield will restore an urban forest along Honey Creek in the city’s Konkel Park.
  • Village of Howard will plant a variety of native trees as part of the development of Howard Commons, the village’s first public square that will include a pavilion, amphitheater, biergarten, splash pads and an activity center surrounded by trails and a 92-acre village park.
  • City of Iron Mountain will plant trees along Kennedy Road and along the exit to North Elementary School, as part of its “Safe Routes to School” focus.
  • Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy will restore two calcareous fens – rare and distinctive peat-accumulating wetlands—within the Conservancy.
  • Town of Ledgeview will increase its tree diversity as it replaces ash trees lost to emerald ash borer in the town-owned Ledgeview Golf Course.
  • Village of Little Chute will update the landscaping around the entrances to Legion Park with perennial flowering plants and ornamental grasses to reduce park maintenance
  • Mequon Nature Preserve will plant roughly 3,000 native tree and shrub seedlings to reforest part of the Preserve adjacent to an ATC transmission line right-of-way.
  • Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department will plant a variety of native trees in its newly acquired 131-acre Clay Bluffs Cedar Gorge Nature Preserve to increase its tree diversity after losing ash trees to emerald ash borer.
  • Village of Rock Springs will add a hardy mix of trees, shrubs and bushes to naturalize an area impacted by two historic 100-year floods, as well as reduce road noise at Happy Hour Park.
  • City of Stanley will increase urban tree diversity by replacing trees lost to emerald ash borer and a 2021 tornado.
  • Sheboygan County will plant about 20 mature trees along a heavily used, multi-use pathway that connects the city of Sheboygan and the village of Kohler along County Highway PP.
  • City of Stevens Point will restore pollinator habitat, reduce storm water runoff, and reduce facility net energy usage at the Stevens Point Transit facility. Using native forbs and grasses, as well as installation of select native trees will help achieve all three goals- while simultaneously beautifying a municipal property.
  • Madison’s Urban Tree Alliance will place bare root trees in its gravel bed drip irrigation system to encourage root system growth and increase the likelihood of tree survival. The trees will then be planted at seven Madison Metropolitan School District locations to increase urban tree diversity after losing ash trees to emerald ash borer.
  • Village of Waunakee will place bare root trees in its gravel bed drip irrigation system to encourage root system growth and increase the likelihood of tree survival. The trees will then be planted in four parks to increase the village’s tree diversity after losing ash trees to emerald ash borer.
  • City of Waupaca will plant trees around the new ADA-accessible playground and splash pad at Swan Park to increase urban tree diversity and replace trees lost during park improvements.

Both the Community Planting Program and Pollinator Planting Program are part of ATC’s Grow Smart® initiative, which advocates for and provides suggestions of low-growing, compatible vegetation that can be planted adjacent to and within transmission line rights-of-way. ATC accepts applications for both programs from June 1 through Sept. 30.