Improving Fragmented Landscapes in Michigan's Lakeplain Oak Openings Region


Support from ITC has bolstered efforts by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to improve the quality and health of imperiled and fragmented landscapes in Southeast Michigan’s Lakeplain Oak Openings region. A mix of forest and grassland that supports a number of rare plants and animals, the Oak Openings covers 1,300 square miles in Monroe, Wayne and Washtenaw Counties in Michigan and in Lucas, Henry and Fulton Counties in Ohio.

“The Oak Openings region contains some of the rarest plant communities in the world,” explains Lindsey Reinarz, who works to protect and restore the Oak Openings on behalf of the Conservancy’s Ohio program. “With ITC’s support we hope to protect this habitat by creating a biological and recreational corridor of preserved land in Southeast Michigan.”

ITC’s support helped TNC:
  • Increase beneficial habitat for native plants and animals, improve water quality and reduce negative impacts of invasive species;
  • Provide people with a connection to their land;
  • Follow-up on previous maintenance activities, enhancing long-term impacts.
Non-native species like glossy buckthorn threaten the future of the Oak Openings by crowding out native plants.

Support from ITC enabled the Conservancy to conduct labor-intensive hand spraying at two properties in Wayne County where the organization is working with partners to bring back native species. Application of herbicide generally followed other work activities such as controlled burning or mowing to maximize effectiveness of treatments. Spraying by hand was done to minimize damage to beneficial species.

Additionally, The Nature Conservancy was able to conduct a controlled burn on approximately 36 acres of township-owned land on some of the highest priority land in the Lakeplain prairie located in Wayne County.


Environmental Stewardship

Utility companies operate in nature. Power lines, particularly the high-voltage lines that transmit massive amounts of electricity across the country, must coexist within our natural environment. As the country’s only independent electrical transmission provider, we take our responsibility for the environment very seriously.


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