From birds and bees to flowers and trees, many of Michigan’s native plants and animals live at DTE Energy facilities.
DTE Energy is one of the largest landowners in Michigan. We maintain thousands of acres of land in its natural state and provide habitat for hundreds of species of birds, mammals, fish and insects. Additional restoration projects are continually in the works.
The arrival of a beaver at the Conners Creek Power Plant received international media attention, which many say attests to the improved viability of the Detroit River habitat.
A particular focus of our wildlife program is providing “stopover sites” for migratory birds. Many DTE Energy facilities are located along the important Atlantic and Mississippi flyways, the invisible routes along the Great Lakes that migratory birds use every spring and fall for their astounding journeys. As they make their incredible journeys, these weary travelers need rest stops where they can land and refuel before setting off again. By planting a variety of native trees, shrubs and perennials that attract insects and produce seeds and berries, DTE Energy facilities put out the “welcome mat” along the critical migratory pathways along the Lake Huron to Lake Erie corridor.
Most of the Great Lakes basin was originally a combination of arboreal forest and grasslands. DTE Energy employees have worked with partner agencies to create and restore prairies at company-owned sites throughout the state of Michigan. These prairies provide homes to hundreds of mammals, insects, reptiles and birds.
Our Monroe Power Plant, with over 800 acres of prairie and wetland habitat, has been designated as a Conservation Education Site (CES) for serving as an outdoor laboratory for the Charles and June Knabusch Mathematics & Science Center. Local middle and high school students perform projects and research on our property, including land mapping, and math, science and environmental studies.
Wetlands are among the most productive and endangered of wildlife habitats. They provide important benefits to people and the environment. Wetlands help regulate water levels within watersheds, improve water quality, reduce flood and storm damages, provide important fish and wildlife habitat and support hunting, fishing, and other recreational activities. DTE Energy facilities include many wetlands that have been preserved from development because of their proximity to our operations. In other instances, we have restored wetlands that had been drained for agriculture, or created wetlands to replace those lost during construction or expansion of our facilities.
Using an approach called “softshore engineering,” two Detroit Edison facilities have undertaken projects to restore sections of shoreline lined with barren concrete rip-rap to a more natural condition. These areas now slope naturally to the water's edge and are planted with native grasses and wildflower that are beautiful to the eye and that create habitat for fish, birds, and land animals.
The River Rouge Power Plant sits on the Detroit River shoreline in the middle of one of the region’s most industrial areas. In 2007, Detroit Edison staff and partners removed 850 cubic yards of concrete riprap, rebar, and gravel along 200 feet of the shoreline. They reshaped the shoreline, installed erosion control fabric, and added native plants – both on the shore and in the water – to create habitat for fish and other wildlife species. The project was partially financed through grants including the U.S. EPA 5-Star Grant, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Grant, and Metropolitan Affairs Coalition Challenge Grant.
A barren, 200-foot expanse of broken concrete and metal, in place to stabilize the shoreline.
A natural shoreline that creates a thriving habitat for fish and other wildlife species, will develop as the native plants grow, bloom and bear fruit.
The following year, DTE Energy employees similarly enhanced a 300-foot section of the River Raisin shoreline at the Monroe Power Plant. Like the River Rouge project, the River Raisin project was partially financed by grants from the EPA and state and local partners.
Public fishing piers at several DTE Energy facilities (Harbor Beach Power Plant, Marysville Power Plant, Delray Fishing Pier and Monroe Power Plant) also provide seasonal free fishing access to local anglers.
Green Team members participate in various river cleanups each year, from the Detroit River to the rivers of the Rouge Watershed and beyond.
Many facilities, including our downtown Detroit headquarters complex, have created gardens to attract pollinators such as hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. These butterfly gardens are composed of drought-tolerant native plants. Employees and visitors alike can enjoy the color of the flowers and their iridescent visitors.
Speaking of pollinators, honey bee hives were introduced to the DTE Energy facility at Sibley Quarry in Trenton in the summer of 2008. The hives and gardens are part of the company’s response to create habitat for pollinators, and a group of employees are learning the fascinating art of bee-keeping.
Employees, their children, and local Scout troops have built and installed dozens of nesting structures at DTE Energy facilities and in the surrounding areas. Every species has its requirements for shelter, resulting in the construction of specific nest boxes for wood ducks, American kestrels, peregrine falcons and Eastern bluebirds, platforms for ospreys and eagles, houses for bats, tubes for mallards and brush piles for small mammals. We have also provided nesting habitat for the rare common tern, which nests on the ground in sand and gravel.