ITC Holdings

ITC Transmission Line Right-of-Way at Tomlinson Arboretum

Clinton Twp., Michigan, United States

Certified Silver through 2022

Project Name
Project Type
ITC Transmission Line Corridor
Audubon Bird Surveys
Native Pollinators
Maintenance Assistance and Education
About the Program
Tomlinson Arboretum is a public park dedicated to the planting of native Michigan trees, shrubs and prairie grasses located in Clinton Township, Michigan, to the northwest of Lake St. Clair. It consists of approximately 24 acres of green space, 1.25 acres of managed grassland, a half-mile bike path, a woodlot, Kukuk Creek and two botanical butterfly gardens. The habitat is generally mowed lawn with young planting clusters of native trees and shrubs. There is also a pre-arboretum second growth woodlot on the property. The conservation objectives of the Transmission Line Right-of-Way at Tomlinson Arboretum are to improve biodiversity and enhance wildlife habitat by restoring native prairie grasses and wildflowers, and specifically to increase and monitor the quality and quantity of habitat for native pollinators and avian species. The goal of the Maintenance Assistance and Education Project is to assist arboretum volunteers with the maintenance of the grassland planting through hands-on education.

Practices and Impacts
  • The team has assisted the Tomlinson Arboretum Committee and Friends of the Tomlinson Arboretum (FOTA) with maintenance duties of the grassland habitat, which include mowing, trimming and herbicide treatment to suppress the growth of weeds and promote the native plants that have established. They conducted a controlled burn in May 2020.
  • ITC contracted with PlantWise to conducting herbicide treatment of invasive species.
  • The team and their partners have identified many native species over the years. In 2020 alone, have identified 38 native species of plants including multiple species of milkweed, which serves as a critical host plant for Monarch butterflies.
  • The grasslands habitat provides nesting sites, year-round foraging opportunities, migratory stopover and movement corridors for bird species including Cooper’s hawk, warbling vireo and Baltimore oriole. In total, 95 species of birds have been documented through 106 checklists submitted to e-Bird between 2018-2020, with 82 species being reported so far in 2020.
  • The team hosts two Prairie Work Days intended to familiarize Tomlinson Arboretum staff and volunteers with the native species growing in the ITC corridor so they are better able to maintain the grassland. The first day usually focuses on identifying management priorities for the growing season with pollinator monitoring. The second day is a more in-depth flora and fauna survey with pollinator monitoring. ITC consultants work with members of the Tomlinson Arboretum Committee, FOTA and volunteers within the ITC corridor and practice identification of young plants.
  • In addition, the team occasionally hosts one-time education events in the grassland with other groups.  
  • In 2018, ITC contractors gave a presentation to highlight the Maintenance Assistance and Education Project, providing an example of how a Wildlife Habitat Council education program can successfully engage community members in environmental stewardship.