Rare, transplanted milkweed grows on DTE plant site | The Daily Reporter – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2021-09-27 15:54:30 –

Blythe Air Good
Times Herald (Port Huron)

East China Township, Michigan (AP) — Plants are thriving three years after DTE Energy paid more than $ 5,000 and moved rare milkweed plants to East China Township’s future Bluewater Energy Center site. increase.

Daniel Ocon, senior environmental specialist at DTE Energy, said that in 2018, 400 Sullivan milkweed stalks were relocated, increasing the population to 502.

“It’s very satisfying,” Okon told the Times Herald in Port Huron. “This is the most successful move I have made.”

According to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, monarch butterflies are host plants of monarch butterflies, which are candidates under the Endangered Species Act.

Monark’s habitat requires milkweed and flowering plants. According to the US Forest Office, adult monarchs eat nectar from many flowers, but only breed where milkweed is found.

Sullivan milkweed is different from common milkweed in that it has smooth leaves instead of coarse leaves of common varieties, with pink veins sticking to the stem.

Milkweed in Sullivan is endangered in Michigan and is classified as legally protected. According to the Michigan Natural Feature Catalog, a scientific biodiversity resource, it has been observed in eight counties in Michigan and is the most common in St. Clair County.

And one of those locations is DTE Energy’s $ 1 billion future Bluewater Energy Center location, which plans to power homes from 2022.

Okon said a “significant amount” of endangered species was found in the footprint of the new facility during due diligence before the company began construction.

According to DTE spokesman Eric Yunan, the company paid Marine City Nursery $ 5,800 to relocate its factory in 2018.

The nursery has moved the plants to a safe place where they know they are unaffected by construction. The plant was spread to cover at least one acre.

Okon said that there are many variables regarding relocation and that 70% to 80% survival is good, so growing above 25% is “very good”.

Younan said DTE Energy is one of the largest landowners in Michigan. The company’s staff includes biologists and environmental engineers, and owns 36 sites accredited under the Wildlife Habitat Council to provide habitat for animals and pollen maters.

Part of the company’s permit obligation to build an East Chinatown Ship Center required annual monitoring of plant survival through 2021. The period is over, but Ocon said the company isn’t taking care of milkweed.

He said the next step would be to try to curb the growth of about an acre of the invasive, non-native species of Phragmites australis, a type of grass that invades Milkweed. Okon wants to get funding to hire a contractor for herbicide treatments that target only invading herbs.

“We want to keep this,” he said.

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