GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (ABC 4)- On Thursday, Consumers Energy released 56 turtle hatchlings back into natural wetland habitats after the juveniles were rescued as eggs along the path of the Mid-Michigan Pipeline Project. The turtles came from eggs of adult females that were safely removed from the pipeline path throughout the course of the summer and 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.”

During the summer, HRM rescued and incubated Eastern Snapping, Midland Painted and Blanding’s turtle eggs. Thursday’s release 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 that were rescued and incubated will continue to be cared for and monitored over the course of the winter at the HRM facility before being released next spring, significantly increasing the chances of survival and future reproduction. This process is known as headstarting and can 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.”

Since 2009 Consumers Energy has worked with HRM to protect and manage wetland wildlife along the path of its construction projects. Over the course of two years on the Saginaw Trail Pipeline, Consumers Energy and HRM saved more than 30 Blanding’s Turtle eggs before returning mature juveniles to the habitat after construction was completed and rescued/relocated nearly 30,000 amphibians and reptiles out of the construction pathway.

The regular rescue and release of turtles is one of many steps Consumers Energy has voluntarily taken to protect the environment while investing in the critical infrastructure upgrades necessary to continue delivering the service customers need and deserve.

A video of the release can be found here.

Consumers Energy is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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