Sterling State Park
Monroe, Michigan, United States
Certified through 2023
ITC Transmission Line Corridor
About the Program
ITC Holdings, ITC Transmission Corridor, Sterling State Park is in southeast Michigan. Sterling State is the only Michigan state park on Lake Erie. Since 2011, the ITC team has actively managed 83 acres of grasslands to increase native plant and wildlife diversity at the park through the removal of non-native plant species and cutting back woody vegetation. The conservation objective is to increase native diversity and enhance grassland habitat by effective management and removal of non-native plant species within the transmission line corridor. The team works in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources through the department's Wildlife Action Plan. Partners include Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (ECT) assists with on-site species surveys and the organization of monitoring documentation, DRM Maintenance & Management conducts chemical treatment of phragmites, Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) coordinates with ITC to control invasive species at Sterling State Park. MDNR also advertises and solicits volunteers to assist with the annual species surveys, Michigan Botanical Club has volunteers that participate in the on-site species surveys showing project implementation and development. An employee is engaged in planning, coordination, and photos.
Practices and Impacts
- The team actively manages their grasslands by performing annual assessments of plant and wildlife species, treating and removing non-native species like phragmites, and coordinating with technical experts, consultants and volunteers, as well as maintaining the grassland by cutting woody vegetation.
- Native plant species, including species of concern in Michigan such as trailing wild bean, are abundant in the grassland. Other native plant species include big bluestem, gray dogwood, swamp mallow, monkey flower and sweet-scented water lily. Many of those species support wildlife. For example, the site features milkweed, which is the sole host plant for monarch butterflies. Other wildlife spotted in the grasslands, as well as in the emerging wetlands on-site, include painted turtles, eastern pondhawks, great egrets and bald eagles.
- Local experts conducted Floristic Quality Assessments to determine the presence of grassland-dependent wildlife, invasive species, and plant abundance and diversity on-site. The most recent inventory from 2019 found a total of 79% of the plant species on-site are native.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE WHC INDEX IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY