JACKSON, Mich., Jan. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers Energy awarded more than $73,000 to 43 Michigan communities through its 2014 Community Tree Planting Grant Program.
"It's important for us to work with the townships, villages and cities we serve to facilitate two vital goals: beautifully landscaped communities and reliable electric service," said Chris Niemi, manager of forestry operations for Consumers Energy. "Our Tree Planting Grant Program has an educational component in addition to the funding mechanism that makes it a great tool for helping communities plant trees appropriate for their locations."
Consumers Energy sponsors the program annually to encourage responsible tree planting and sustainable urban forests in communities across the state. The Michigan Forest and Park Association reviews applications and forwards its grant recommendations to Consumers Energy.
A tree planting project must meet criteria to reduce conflicts between trees and overhead lines to qualify for a grant. Consumers Energy provides prospective communities a guide titled "Right Tree Right Place," a concept developed by the National Arbor Day Foundation, which shows how to choose appropriate tree species and suitable sites in community locations near electric lines.
Once a project is approved and planting is completed, a Consumers Energy forester verifies the tree species and locations.
The grants aided in the planting of more than 740 trees in 2014.
In addition, Consumers Energy increased its forestry work last year to keep trees away from power lines and improve electric service to more than 1.7 million homes and businesses. Workers removed or trimmed trees along more than 6,000 miles of lines throughout the Lower Peninsula in 2014.
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.5 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.
SOURCE Consumers Energy