Sunday, April 22, is Earth Day, and we’re celebrating by highlighting some of our environmental initiatives.
Sometimes, we encounter threatened and endangered species during our construction projects. The projects could include building a new natural gas line or installing new power lines. We need to be aware of the animals in our project zones.
Wood turtles are listed as a threatened species in Wisconsin. They prefer to nest in sand banks near rivers and streams, but they also are known to nest along roadsides, fields and gravel pits.
When we have a project that has the potential to disturb wood turtle habitat, we collaborate with the Department of Natural Resources to ensure we are taking all appropriate measures to avoid any impacts to the habitats. These measures include conducting surveys in advance of our projects to ensure our equipment will not come in contact with the turtles. We also have installed exclusion fencing to prevent the turtles from entering our work zones, and we directionally drill to bore underneath turtle habitat to prevent disruption.
As part of our protection and conservation of wood turtles, we assist Turtles For Tomorrow, a conservation program dedicated to habitat management and landowner education about rare reptiles and amphibians in Wisconsin. We have assisted with restoration of several nest sites near our hydroelectric facilities, as well as provided funding for a camera-monitoring and site-management project that will aid in monitoring nest predation, vandalism and hatching success.