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Village of Bristol establishes native oak savannah with help from ATC

The Village of Bristol removed invasive vegetation and planted nearly 50 native oak trees in the new Bristol Bay Park this summer. The trees planted were a mix of six different types of oak trees.

The effort was funded with a $5,000 grant from American Transmission Co.’s Community Planting Program that was matched by the Village. When Bristol Bay Park is fully developed, it will be a 37-acre natural area park with an oak savanna along its walking trails.

Once common in the Midwest, forming a boundary between prairies and forests, oak savannas are now one of the rarest ecosystems on earth. The openness of an oak savanna, with large trees growing far apart, enables numerous types of native prairie plants to grow. That openness is usually maintained by fire, as oaks are a fire resistant tree species. The Village plans to conduct periodic controlled burns to maintain the savanna.

ATC’s Community Planting Program enables us to encourage and support communities to plant trees and vegetation that beautify the landscape in a way that doesn’t compromise the safety and reliability of the electric transmission system.

The Program provides financial support to eligible cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes in ATC’s service area for planting projects on public property, outside transmission line rights-of-way. Program funds can be used to plant trees and other tall-growing vegetation. Since 2013, ATC has awarded approximately 240 communities and organizations with funds totaling more than $425,000.

ATC accepts applications from July 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 atc-GrowSmart.com