Our environmental efforts are devoted to managing habitats for wildlife, including threatened, endangered or “special concern” species that inhabit the forests, wetlands and river lands for which we are stewards.
We work closely with state and federal agencies and environmental groups such as the Wildlife Habitat Council to ensure our lands benefit local and migratory wildlife. Our land management includes an important wetlands protection and monitoring component along with an extensive wood duck nest box program.
Management of the hydroelectric project lands also conforms with the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The lands at our hydroelectric dams are managed in accordance with the Northern States Bald Eagle Recovery Plan, specific habitat protection and enhancement measures, and annual bald eagle productivity goals.
Since our lands along northern Michigan’s rivers largely are undeveloped, they provide excellent eagle nesting habitats, while the hydroelectric impoundments provide healthy populations of fish with low concentrations of environmental contaminants for eagles.
When eagles declined nationwide due to pesticide and PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) pollution, they survived in our lands and formed a core population that made recovery possible. We continue to manage these hydroelectric lands to protect bald eagles and the fish populations that sustain them.
We cooperate with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at our Karn/Weadock and Whiting plants to provide nesting platforms for eagles due to a scarcity of suitable nesting trees in those areas.
Since 1997, the company has been part of a national conservation effort aimed at bringing trumpeter swans back from the brink of extinction. Over the years, we have collaborated with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, the U.S. Forest Service and Michigan State University’s Kellogg Sanctuary in releasing 26 young adult trumpeter swans into the extensive wetlands behind several of our dams.
These reintroductions have led to self-sustaining populations of trumpeters in northeast Michigan. Below our dams, the Au Sable River provides ice-free, high-quality winter habitats for an annual wintering population of 150 trumpeter swans, one of the largest groups in the continental United States.
More than 20,000 bats, including brown, eastern pipistrelle, northern and as many as 60 endangered Indiana bats, hibernate each year inside the spillway of Tippy Dam. During a past spillway renovation, we worked with bat experts and state and federal wildlife agencies to ensure those changes would not affect the temperature and humidity of this habitat for the hibernating bats. We continue to collaborate with bat experts to carefully monitor the hibernating bats and the microclimate inside the spillway.
These species protection initiatives have earned awards from the Michigan Audubon Society and the Wildlife Habitat Council.
More details are available in the Environmental Report or at Our Environment.
Indiana bats hibernate at Tippy Dam.
Consumers Energy works with state and federal government agencies to monitor, research and track the progress of the Karner Blue butterfly.