Energizing Your Future

ATC helps Grafton add native plants to bioswales

The Village of Grafton recently added bioswale storm water retention areas with native pollinator-friendly plants to one of its main streets with support from a $3,250 grant from American Transmission Co. The bioswales and pollinator habitat were installed in the 26-foot wide boulevards on either side of First Avenue between Washington Avenue and Highland Drive.

Bioswales are landscape features that collect stormwater runoff and filter out pollution. They are similar to rain gardens, but capture much more runoff from larger areas of impervious surfaces like streets and parking lots. Bioswales use native plants to help absorb more water and prevent erosion.

Not only will the bioswales help reduce contaminants entering the Milwaukee River, the native plants will provide food and shelter to bees, butterflies and other pollinators. As part of the project, the Village also removed potentially hazardous crab apple trees to help ensure the safety and reliability of the transmission system.

ATC’s Pollinator Habitat Program promotes planting low-growing vegetation within a transmission line right-of-way to beautify communities 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, as well as entities that allow public access to ATC rights-of-way (e.g. nature preserves, non-profits or public land managers).

In addition to the Pollinator Habitat Program, ATC’s Community Planting Program provides financial support to eligible cities, villages, towns, counties and tribes in its 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 outside the transmission line rights-of-way.

Applications for the Community Planting Program and Pollinator Habitat Program are accepted July 1 through Sept. 30 each year, and recipients will be selected by the end of the calendar year. Awards range from $100 to $5,000. Since 2013, ATC has awarded approximately 240 communities and organizations with funds totaling more than $425,000. Additional information and program applications can be found at