Green Bay prairie planting could attract pollinators

Spreading seeds as part of ATC prairie project in Green Bay, May 9, 2017 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- An effort to help the population of bees, and butterflies is taking root in Green Bay.

The American Transmission Company is planting wildflowers under power lines it owns along Interstate 43, near the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary.

At the bottom of a five-gallon bucket, represents what some call the future of this site in Green Bay.

"There are 18 different types of seeds within this enhanced seed mix," said Alissa Braatz, ATC Spokesperson.

"The right-of-way where our transmission line facilities exist, offer a fantastic opportunity for us to cultivate and develop the habitat for wildlife. In this case, pollinators," she said.

"I would probably throw this way, with the wind," suggested one worker.

Crews spent Tuesday morning spreading seeds by hand over parts of a six-acre corridor along Interstate 43 in Green Bay. The two-year initiative is a partnership with the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary.


"It had been overgrown with buckthorn, and other woody invasives. So they were able to remove that and now, planted into more of a prairie mix," said Mike Reed, Beach Wildlife Sanctuary Director.

Conservationists say the effort is more than just putting seeds in the ground near the wildlife sanctuary. They say people can start a pollinator garden at home. A guide from ATC called GrowSmart, offers 38 different plants that can attract birds, bees, and butterflies.

"You can plant any of these, but Asters, Common Milkweed, Culver's Root," said Braatz.

Braatz says people need to do research before they plant.

"Native grasses and wild flowers are important. But it's also important to group them in terms of color, and the size the will end up becoming," she said.

Back at the prairie, a tractor rolled the seeds into the ground.

"We're going to be monitoring the plants that come up, the pollinators that we attracted to these plants, and ultimately helping those species," said Braatz.

ATC is is based in Pewaukee and operates high-powered transmission lines throughout portions of the Midwest.

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