Fretting about four-legged and feathered friends is a full-time job at our company. We’ve been carrying out wildlife management plans for almost three decades, caring for threatened and endangered species. Our plans have even been certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), a national environmental organization that promotes wildlife management and education on private lands.
The wildlife and forestry management plans for our hydroelectric plants along the Au Sable, Manistee and Muskegon rivers in Northern Michigan are specific about protecting threatened and endangered species. The bald eagle, Karner blue butterfly, trumpeter swan and Indiana bat are among the animals named. Because our lands along the rivers are largely undeveloped, they provide excellent nesting habitats and a healthy diet. We’re also involved in wetlands protection and monitoring, with extensive nest box programs for wood duck, bluebirds, purple martins, tree swallows and kestrels. We work with state and federal agencies and advocacy groups to integrate our efforts with the Huron-Manistee National Forest.
We’ve had some notable success. Over the last couple decades, bald eagle breeding territories around our hydroelectric facilities have increased. Since 1994, more than 270 bald eagle chicks fledged on our hydroelectric lands. Bats find refuge at Tippy Dam on the Manistee River. More than 21,000 bats—including brown, eastern pipistrelle, threatened Northern Long-Eared bats, and endangered Indiana bats—spent last winter hibernating in the dam spillway. Since 1997, we’ve been part of a national conservation effort to restore the trumpeter swan population. We’ve released 26 young adult trumpeter swans into wetlands behind several hydroelectric plants. Trumpeter swans raise their young on our lands along the lower Au Sable River and in lakes and beaver ponds on the adjacent Huron-Manistee National Forest. More than 200 of these birds winter here annually.