Consumers Energy works closely with a variety of organizations throughout Michigan to achieve a common goal of protecting the state’s water, air, wetlands, and wildlife. In 2013 and 2014, Consumers Energy contributed over $430,000 through donations, grants, and memberships to support environmental stewardship efforts. This section features the efforts of several organizations that Consumers Energy is proud to support in working toward a shared objective of leaving Michigan a better place than we found it!
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Michigan Chapter
The Consumers Energy Foundation provided significant funding to TNC’s Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Initiative. This TNC initiative included the development of in-depth background documents to provide decision-makers with essential foundational information to support their efforts. It also involved engagement of the Michigan Legislature to promote informed and scientifically-sound policy decisions. The initiative also developed an in-depth assessment of AIS organisms that was shared with both the Michigan AIS Advisory council and the Council of Great Lakes Governor’s AIS Task Force. (2014)
The Munson Healthcare Regional Foundation Kid’s Creek Restoration
The Munson Healthcare Facility in Traverse City, Michigan needed room for a new cancer wing, but building it required the relocation and restoration of a small, but important, cold water stream that supports both native trout and Great Lakes trout and salmon. Munson Healthcare’s “thinking out of the box” solution provided the land necessary for a new wing and relocated and restored a high-quality stream that had been severely degraded by urbanization and, in this location, ran largely underground and was covered by concrete. The restoration is state of the art and has produced a stream and riparian environment that is both outstanding for fish and wildlife and outstanding in its natural beauty. The quiet, scenic grounds are a natural sanctuary for patients and the public. The Consumers Energy Foundation was proud to help sponsor this project. (2013)
Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge and the International Wildlife Refuge Alliance (IWRA)
The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge includes lands along both the United States and Canadian sides of the Detroit River and extends into Lake Erie all the way to Ohio. The Wildlife Refuge includes the “Lady of the Lake” Unit, which is Consumers Energy property managed as part of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Consumers Energy Foundation has long been a sponsor of IWRA fundraising efforts for the Refuge and contributed to the funding of the dock that will serve as a mooring for the Sea Grant “school boat” and for the public fishing pier at the Refuge headquarters, which is currently under construction. Two Consumers Energy employees have also served on the IWRA Board of Directors over the last several years.
In 2015, the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge and IWRA honored Consumers Energy’s long time commitment and contributions to the Refuge by presenting Consumers Energy with the coveted John D. Dingell Friend of the Refuge Award.
Presentation of the John D. Dingell Friend of the Refuge Award, May 2, 2015. From left to right: Dr. Gary Dawson, Consumers Energy Environmental Services and IWRA Board Member, former Congressman John D. Dingell, inspiration and founder of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, and David Mengebier, Senior Vice President for Governmental and Public Affairs.
With electric generating plants on both the Saginaw and Muskegon Rivers, Consumers Energy has an interest in watershed initiatives that promote the health and sustainability of these watersheds and recreational activities that are consistent with these initiatives. The Consumers Energy Foundation is a frequent contributor to projects from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network and also to projects such as the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly’s “Keep It Cool” campaign. The Company has also contributed to recreation projects such as the Saginaw Bay Bluewater Trail and the Michigan Audubon’s Society’s Sunrise Coast Birding Trail.
Cranbrook Institute of Science-Water on the Go
The Consumers Energy Foundation has supported Cranbrook Institute of Science in its educational outreach programs focusing on watershed education for students and their families since 2008, and recently pledged to continue that funding through 2016. This program introduces students and their families to the concepts of watershed protection and management and water stewardship. The primary focus of this program is students and their families in the Saginaw Bay watershed.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wetland Wonders Challenge
The Consumers Energy Foundation is partnering with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Division to underwrite a program designed to promote public education on the value of wetlands and their wildlife. The focus of this educational program is the outstanding wetlands on the Wildlife Division’s seven managed waterfowl areas in southern Michigan. These areas offer superior opportunities to enjoy, appreciate and be inspired by Michigan's marshes and wetland wildlife. The Managed Waterfowl Areas are Michigan's Wetland Wonders. Scattered across the southern Lower Peninsula, these areas were created in the 1960s and 1970s to provide exceptional waterfowl hunting opportunities, and they're still managed today to provide waterfowl habitat for nesting and migration and for the benefit of other wetland wildlife. Since the beginning, these areas were funded by hunting license fees and fees from managed area use permits purchased by hunters, but they are open for anyone to visit, use and enjoy most of the year.
Friends of the Rouge
The Rouge Education Project (REP) is a multidisciplinary, school-based initiative to raise awareness of pollution in the Rouge River among K-12 students, and encourage them to take action to restore and protect the river. The project's focus is the study of the Rouge River in southeastern Michigan: its history, current issues, how to monitor its health, how to restore it, and how to become its steward. As a water quality monitoring and watershed education project, the REP engages students' interest, concern, and commitment through real-world education. The project also builds school-community-university partnerships through corporate sponsors, corporate volunteers, and university students who assist teachers participating in the REP. The project is coordinated by Friends of the Rouge, who Consumers Energy has been a long time sponsor of.
Updated June 2015