Juvenile Blanding’s turtles released to restored wetland in Holly

Associated Press

Holly – Eighteen juvenile Blanding’s turtles have been released to a restored wetland area along a utility pipeline right-of-way north of Detroit.

Consumers Energy employees joined Herpetological Resource and Management and the Michigan Sea Life Aquarium in the release in Oakland County’s Holly, the utility said Thursday.

Turtle eggs and 31 adult and juvenile Blanding’s turtles were rescued in 2020 from along the utility’s Saginaw Trail Pipeline which extends north from Oakland County to Saginaw County.

Consumers Energy employees joined Herpetological Resource and Management and the Michigan Sea Life Aquarium in the release in Oakland County’s Holly.

Herpetological Resource and Management staff collected the eggs as part of wildlife work on the pipeline to relocate reptiles and amphibians with an emphasis on rare species, Consumers Energy said.

The adult turtles were moved to safe locations outside the construction area. After the eggs hatched, the juvenile turtles were cared for over the winter.

The pipeline is a 90-mile, $610 million improvement project to modernize vintage natural gas infrastructure in Saginaw, Genesee, and Oakland counties. More than 29,000 turtles, frogs, salamanders, lizards and snakes have been rescued and relocated from the project area during construction, according to Jackson-based Consumers Energy.

A special mix of seeds also have been planted to restore more than 550 acres of wild and wetland areas where the pipeline was buried to create new habitat for butterflies, bees and other pollinators.

In 2019, Consumers Energy released a dozen juvenile Blanding’s turtles into a Saginaw-area habitat created for them by employees of the utility.

The turtles hatched from eggs laid by two adult turtles found along a path of the pipeline. The adult turtles were moved to a safe location.