August 10, 2022

ATC grants help Ledgeview and Stevens Point increase pollinator habitat

The town of Ledgeview, Wis., and the North Central Conservancy Trust are welcoming bees, birds, butterflies and other pollinators to sections of the East and Wisconsin rivers thanks to American Transmission Co.’s Pollinator Habitat Program.

Roughly 35% of the world’s food crops depend on pollinators. Part of the reason for the recent decline in pollinator populations is due to loss of habitat, so efforts to restore pollinator habitat like these projects are critical to current and future pollinator health.

Restoring Bukolt Island with over 2,000 native species

Situated in the middle of the Wisconsin River on the western edge of Stevens Point is the two-acre Bukolt Island. Purchased in 2019 by the North Central Conservancy Trust, nearly half of the island is now home to an emerging pollinator habitat.

In late 2021, the NCCT received a grant from ATC, which owns the power lines running through the island. The NCCT also received a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program to support pollinator habitat on Bukolt Island.

In late May, over 50 local volunteers crossed the water and joined the NCCT in planting over 2,000 native species to create a pollinator habitat on the island.

“This is really done to protect that landscape,” NCCT Executive Director Chris Radford told WSAW-TV CBS 7 in an interview. “We want to protect the ecosystems that are associated with it, make it accessible for the public, and steward it as best we can for the benefit of our native flora and fauna.”

In addition to supporting pollinators, the new plants will also be beneficial for the river by helping prevent erosion and eliminating invasive species.

Ledgeview adds to pollinator habitat in popular park

On June 27, employees from the town of Ledgeview and members of the local Pheasants Forever Chapter, with assistance from Stone Silo Prairie Gardens, added to pollinator habitat in Ledgeview Park near the Winding Waters entrance to the popular East River Trail, a six-mile hiking and biking trail along the East River.

A grant from ATC provided the funding to bring native pollinator plantings to the pollinator habitat in the park, which is located under an ATC electric transmission line. This is the second year in a row Ledgeview has been awarded a grant. Last summer crews planted nearly 1,000 native forbs on a plot near the northern part of the property.

Stone Silo Prairie Gardens, a local nursery located in Ledgeview that specializes in native species, was brought on to provide guidance with the grant administration and creating the 8,600-square-foot habitat.

“Native plants are low-maintenance options to help pollinators and our ecosystems. Using plants native to our area is better for the bees, birds and butterflies,” Justin Kroening, owner of Stone Silo Prairie Gardens told WLUK-TV Fox 11 in an interview. “These plants are very adaptable to dry conditions, they have large tap roots which go way down into the soil, and that’s also really good for soil, and that’s good for water filtration, and it’s good for erosion control and things of that nature.”

In addition to supporting pollinators, the habitat will also help mitigate stormwater runoff into the East River.

ATC accepting grant applications until Sept. 30

ATC’s Pollinator Habitat Program promotes planting low-growing vegetation within transmission line rights-of-way to beautify communities in a way that doesn’t compromise the safety and reliability of the electric transmission system.

ATC accepts applications from June 1 through Sept. 30, and award recipients are selected and notified by the end of the year. Awards range from $100 to $5,000. Additional information and program applications can be found at