DANSVILLE, Mich. — Consumers Energy announced they released 56 turtle hatchlings Sept. 7 back into natural wetland habitats.
The young turtles were rescued as eggs along the path of the Mid-Michigan Pipeline Project. The mothers of the turtles were safely removed from the pipeline path throughout the course of the summer.
The turtle eggs were incubated and nurtured by Herpetological Resource and Management (HRM).
“At Consumers Energy we believe in leaving our communities better than we found them, and that is why years of careful planning with environmental partners at the local, state and federal levels went into the execution of the first phase of this pipeline project,” said Chris Fultz, Consumers Energy’s vice president of gas operations. “This work is not just about following the permit requirements, it is about doing what is best for the wildlife in the area, and we continue to be grateful for partners that help us do that.”
HRM rescued and incubated Eastern Snapping, Midland Painted and Blanding’s turtle eggs over the summer. The release on Sept. 7 included 39 Eastern Snapping turtles, 12 Midland Painted juveniles, and five Blanding’s turtles.
As a protected species in Michigan and one being considered for federal protection, several Blanding's hatchlings from the rescues will continue to be cared for and monitored over the winter season at the HRM facility.
They will then be released next spring. This extra time at the HRM facility will "significantly" increase their chances of survival and future reproduction. This process is known as headstarting and is used to help rare species that are in decline increase populations for the future.
“HRM is proud to collaborate with Consumers Energy helping to ensure the next generation of turtles in Michigan,” said Dave Mifsud, owner and manager of HRM. “Through their efforts of rescuing turtles and headstarting hatchlings we are helping support the protection and conservation of these imperiled species.”
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