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Specifications

Client

ITC Holdings Corp.

Description

Native prairie species selection, installation oversight, maintenance, monitoring & Wildlife Habitat Council Certification support

Location

City of Cedar Rapids & Linn County, Iowa

Service Line

Project Highlights

  • Project concept development, plant species selection & seed installation oversight
  • Documentation & monitoring in support of WHC Conservation Certification applications

Native prairie ecosystems have been virtually eliminated from their historic range across the Midwest, with less than 0.1 percent remaining in Iowa. ITC Holdings Corp. (ITC) recognizes its electric transmission rights-of-way (ROW) provide a unique opportunity to restore wildlife habitat corridors and support pollinators like the monarch butterfly and native bees. These transmission corridors require a predominance of low-growing herbaceous vegetation for safety and grid reliability and, therefore, provide ideal locations for native prairie restoration.

Native prairie ecosystems have been virtually eliminated from their historic range across the Midwest, with less than 0.1 percent remaining in Iowa. ITC Holdings Corp. (ITC) recognizes its electric transmission rights-of-way (ROW) provide a unique opportunity to restore wildlife habitat corridors and support pollinators like the monarch butterfly and native bees. These transmission corridors require a predominance of low-growing herbaceous vegetation for safety and grid reliability and, therefore, provide ideal locations for native prairie restoration.

In partnership with the Monarch Research Project and 1,000-Acre Pollinator Initiative, ITC Midwest, supported by ECT, initiated several prairie restoration and creation projects in their transmission line ROW and substations near Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Pollinator project sites include Beverly Park, McLoud Run Park, and Sac and Fox Trail City Park (City of Cedar Rapids); Squaw Creek Park and Cedar Valley Nature Trail (Linn County Conservation); and Hiawatha, Stoney Point, Radio Road, and Prairie Creek Industrial substations.

 

Vegetation Enhancement Benefits:

  • Enhancing the vegetation quality within the ROW and converting turf to native plants provides the following benefits:
  • Diversified ecosystem structure & function
  • Quality wildlife habitat for pollinators, ground-nesting birds & numerous other grassland-dependent species
  • Improved water quality by slowing runoff at the surface, while deep roots of prairie plants increase infiltration & groundwater recharge
  • Decreased spread of invasive species & reestablishment of woody species that threaten electric reliability
  • Reduced long-term maintenance costs

ECT provided species selection guidance and installation oversight and prepared successful Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) Conservation Certification applications for several of these projects. Accreditation through WHC provides third-party credibility and an objective evaluation of voluntary activities by companies who demonstrate excellence in the areas of wildlife habitat enhancement and restoration. ECT conducts flora and fauna surveys to monitor project progress and provide future adaptive management guidance.