BALTIMORE, Nov. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) has awarded Wildlife at Work certifications to three ITC Holdings Corp. programs for contributions to wildlife habitat conservation in Michigan and Iowa. ITC received the recognition at WHC's 25th Annual Symposium, Celebrating Corporate Conservation, on November 14 in Baltimore.
Environmental programs established for at least one year are eligible to apply for certification through WHC's Corporate Wildlife Habitat Certification/International Accreditation Program. Certification requires programs have an ongoing management plan that lists goals, objectives and prescriptions as well as complete documentation of all programs. Projects vary in scope from large scale prairie and wetland restoration, to individual species management and native planting projects.
ITC's newly certified programs include Crow Island State Game Area Partnership in Saginaw, Mich. and Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy Sand Point Nature Preserve in Huron County, Mich., both within its ITC Michigan region, as well as the company's Iowa City Warehouse in its ITC Midwest region. The company now holds seven Wildlife at Work certifications. The others include its power line transmission corridor at Stony Creek Metropark in Shelby Township, Mich., Wolcott Mill Metropark in Ray Township, Mich., a power line right-of-way traversing the Chippewa Nature Center in Midland, Mich., and at its headquarters in Novi, Mich.
"ITC Holdings is being recognized as an industry leader in corporate conservation," said Margaret O'Gorman, president of WHC. "It is a model for how we at the Wildlife Habitat Council connect corporations and communities to create habitat and increase biodiversity on corporate properties for the benefit of all. Through its certification programs of private lands owned by the corporate sector, WHC has set the standard for conservation programs on privately held land for more than 25 years."
A prominent feature of these certified Wildlife at Work programs is a vegetation management plan focusing on the removal of invasive woody and herbaceous species, and the re-establishment of native vegetation. Native vegetation provides habitat opportunities to native species, increasing the biodiversity in the area. All three ITC projects support these goals.
Crow Island State Game Area Partnership
ITC operates a high-voltage electric transmission line running through a portion of the Crow Island State Game Area (CISGA) in Michigan's Saginaw and Bay Counties. In an effort to improve biological diversity and restore the natural ecosystem, ITC partnered with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to control invasive species within CISGA. Together, they focused on 100 acres with a combination of herbicide application, cutting and mowing. The reduction of aggressive, non-native species encourages the naturalization of native species and improves wildlife habitat and overall species diversity. ITC also created brush pile habitat from cut debris and restored an existing road to create safer access to the state game area.
Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy Sand Point Nature Preserve
ITC partnered with the Saginaw Bay Land Conservancy to enhance the Sand Point Nature Preserve on Michigan's Saginaw Bay, with increased wildlife habitat and improved access to the preserve through vegetation management. ITC removed vegetation that was blocking trails within the preserve, opening access for stewardship, recreational and educational activities. Brush piles were left alongside the trail to create animal habitat, and six wood duck boxes were installed to combat a decline in wood duck populations by providing proper habitat for the successful fledging of new broods.
Iowa City Warehouse
In an effort to protect local water quality and as a part of its overall green corporate citizen objectives, ITC Midwest identified its Iowa City Warehouse as a suitable location for an innovative site-runoff treatment facility. It built an 840 square-foot garden utilizing native plant species to intercept roof runoff from the facility. The garden area was designed with a sand layer and appropriate growing medium to assist with proper drainage, runoff pollution prevention, and growth of the plants. Since its completion in 2011, the garden has flourished through two summer seasons and provided continual treatment of rooftop runoff throughout the growing season while creating a natural habitat for local wildlife.
"We are honored to be recognized by the Wildlife Habitat Council for our environmental stewardship efforts, and we're particularly proud of our Iowa City Warehouse Rain Garden because it is our first Wildlife at Work certification in our ITC Midwest footprint," said Jon Jipping, executive vice president and chief operating officer for ITC. "It's a testament to our environmental commitment in all of our operating territories, and we will continue to pursue environmental initiatives throughout all of our operating areas."
The ITC Wildlife at Work certifications were among 255 programs recognized at the 2013 Symposium as meeting the strict certification requirements of Wildlife at Work. In addition, 65 programs received Corporate Lands for Learning certification. Certification requirements are strict and require that programs apply for periodic renewal. Wildlife at Work certification recognizes outstanding wildlife habitat management efforts at corporate sites, and offers third-party validation of the benefits of such programs. Corporate Lands for Learning certification provides programs with third-party recognition for educational programs. Since 1990, WHC has certified 668 Wildlife at Work and 161 Corporate Lands for Learning programs worldwide.
About the Wildlife Habitat Council
The Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) is a nonprofit, non-lobbying organization dedicated to increasing the quality and amount of wildlife habitat on corporate, private and public lands. WHC devotes its resources to building partnerships with corporations and conservation groups to create solutions that balance the demands of economic growth with the requirements of a healthy, biodiverse and sustainable environment. WHC-assisted wildlife habitat and conservation education programs are found in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and 11 other countries. To learn more, visit www.wildlifehc.org.
About ITC Holdings Corp.
ITC Holdings Corp. (NYSE: ITC) is the nation's largest independent electricity transmission company. Based in Novi, Mich., ITC invests in the electric transmission grid to improve system reliability, expand access to markets, lower the overall cost of delivered energy and allow new generating resources to interconnect to its transmission systems. ITC's regulated operating subsidiaries include ITCTransmission, Michigan Electric Transmission Company, ITC Midwest and ITC Great Plains. Through these subsidiaries, ITC owns and operates high-voltage transmission facilities in Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma, serving a combined peak load exceeding 26,000 megawatts along 15,000 circuit miles of transmission line. Through ITC Grid Development and its subsidiaries, the company also focuses on expansion in areas where significant transmission system improvements are needed. For more information, please visit: http://www.itc-holdings.com. (ITC-itc-O)
SOURCE ITC Holdings Corp.; Wildlife Habitat Council