ATC awards $71,675 to 22 recipients for planting projects
American Transmission Co. has collectively awarded $71,675 to 22 recipients across its service area to plant trees and low-growing vegetation through its Community Planting and Pollinator Habitat programs. Now in its ninth year, ATC has given nearly 290 community awards for these projects totaling more than $560,000.
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:
- Glacial Lakes Conservancy will create a pollinator habitat in the Conservancy’s Charles & Winifred Spring West Twin River Preserve in Manitowoc County.
- North Central Conservancy Trust will begin working to revegetate a 0.96-acre area on the two-acre Annabel Lee Island in the Wisconsin River in Stevens Point just offshore from Bukolt Park.
- Town of Ledgeview will plant native perennials in Ledgeview Park, east of the Winding Waters Way entrance to the East River Trail.
- Village of Bristol will remove invasive species to create the pollinator habitat within the native oak savanna in the village’s new Bristol Bay Park.
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 Vegetation Management Manager Michelle Stokes. “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 Belgium will plant several trees to provide much needed shade and wind break in the village’s dog part, Pepi’s Playground. The new trees also will reduce stormwater runoff.
- Village of Bristol will plant additional oak trees as it works to finish a native oak savanna in the village’s new Bristol Bay Park.
- Town of Caledonia will add trees to the community’s new Readfield Park adjacent to Readfield Elementary School.
- Elm Grove Beautification Committee will create a large native rain garden in a stormwater discharge area in the Elm Grove Village Park.
- City of Franklin will add native trees to Ken Windl, Ernie Lake and Lions Legend Parks.
- Janesville Urban Forest Alliance will place 36 bare root trees in its gravel bed drip irrigation system to encourage root system growth and increase the likelihood of tree survival after planting.
- Village of Kimberly will replace trees in Sunset Park that have been lost due to the emerald ash borer.
- City of Menasha , along with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s young arborist apprenticeship program, will plant trees outside Menasha High School as part of a neighborhood revitalization effort.
- Mequon Nature Preserve will plant 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 as part of its multi-phase habitat restoration project at Tendick Nature Park near Saukville.
- City of Pittsville will replace some city trees and add additional trees to city green spaces. The trees will add aesthetics and enhance the visual effect of the community.
- City of Portage will plant trees in the city boulevard along Albert Street between Hamilton and E. Haertel Streets to improve greenspace, wildlife habitat and add shade.
- City of Ripon will plant trees in the Murray and Barlow Parks to replace trees lost to emerald ash borer and from July 2021 severe storms.
- Village of Rochester will add to the small arboretum that ATC helped the village start in 2020.
- City of Waupaca will replace trees lost to emerald ash border along city streets and in city parks.
- City of Wauwatosa will remove invasive species and establish native trees, shrubs, and flowers in Hart Park along the Menomonee River.
- Village of Winter will plan several new trees in Doc Smith Park to replace trees lost in July 2021 severe storms.
- City of Wisconsin Dells will plant 25 trees in five of its city parks to help replace park trees lost to oak wilt.
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.