Grow Smart® project attracting bees, butterflies and other pollinators to Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary
Seeding project takes place on May 9 in right-of-way alongside sanctuary
PEWAUKEE, WIS. – Phase two of American Transmission Co.’s Grow Smart® initiative to attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators in the right-of-way that borders Green Bay’s Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary property takes place on May 9. The right-of-way is located under and along high voltage transmission lines on the northern border of I-43; west of Danz Avenue. and east of Irwin Street.
The first phase of this pollinator project began in 2015, when ATC vegetation management contractors used vegetation mowers to control the invasive species, such as buckthorn, from approximately six acres of the right-of-way. The following year, herbicides were selectively applied to the remaining invasive species within that acreage. On May 9, ATC’s environmental contractor, Cardno, will use equipment to broadcast a pollinator seed mix over two and one-half acres of the right-of-way in an effort to establish pollinator habitat. Earlier this year, ATC established a partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for this project. As part of the agreement, the USFWS will supply the seed mix for the project.
“ATC’s Grow Smart® program offers suggestions for low-growing, compatible vegetation to plant in the right-of-way,” explained Gregory Levesque, director of environmental and local relations. “As an electric utility, we are uniquely positioned to establish our rights-of-way as suitable habitat to help pollinator species that we know are in decline. This project is one of many that ATC is initiating to revitalize our rights-of-way, by adjusting our seed mixes to include low-growing vegetation that attracts pollinators – such as those we promote in our Grow Smart® program. We are committed to helping our environment and pleased to be partnering with the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for this project.”
“We applaud ATC for this effort,” said Wildlife Sanctuary Executive Director Mike Reed. “They removed buckthorn and other invasive species from the land and are now replacing it with much-needed vegetation for pollinators. It fits in with the educational mission of the Sanctuary and lets people know that they, too, can plant vegetation that is beneficial for wildlife.”
ATC representatives and the Sanctuary Director will monitor the project throughout the growing season to evaluate and measure results. “By next year at this time, the data should provide us with a comprehensive picture of what plantings work well for that particular area, and what could be improved,” stated Levesque. “We’ll continue to maintain the vegetation at this site through our vegetation management program and volunteer activities.”
Anyone who would like to learn more about planting for pollinators can visit ATC’s Grow Smart® website: www.atc-GrowSmart.com. A free pollinator planting guide is available for download at the site.