When DTE’s Milford Compressor Station needed an overhaul to expand gas compression capacity, updating the facility wasn’t the only concern. Environmental stewardship was, too.

Updating the compressor station required a lot of changes to the site and its landscape, including existing certified wildlife habitat projects. DTE’s environmental team took this large-scale change as an opportunity to integrate a new habitat from the start of the project.

The team ran with this unique chance, planning a habitat that would support a variety of native species, from pollinators to mammals to grassland birds like turkey. They also created edge habitats that are critical for migratory birds and roosting habitats for birds and bats. To create these individual environments, the station site was seeded with a native seed mix to establish diverse grasslands that provide a variety of species with food and shelter. Pine trees were planted along the edge of the forest and nesting boxes were added to give animals the best chance at thriving in the new arrangement.

Some of the wildlife habitat at the Milford Compressor Station.

“DTE considers itself a valuable community partner, and that includes the wildlife community,” Matt Shackelford, principal biologist for DTE, said. “We always strive to reduce or eliminate our impacts to biodiversity and with this project, it made it more efficient and cost-effective to work with the project team up-front to create a quality wildlife habitat.”

The Milford Compressor Station has always been a place for DTE to embrace our environmental mission and not every existing project was disrupted by major changes. The Monarch Pollinator Garden survived the overhaul and its vital work preserving butterflies continues. Employees regularly check milkweed stalks for caterpillars to encourage the species’ survival.

A nesting box at the Milford Compressor Station.

While our natural neighbors benefit from the ongoing work at the Milford Compressor Station and beyond, our human communities do too. It gives DTE employees a chance to embrace the outdoors and share their love for nature with the people around them.

“I love the outdoors and I’m an avid hunter, so I’ve spent my whole life enjoying natural spaces,” Chris Conley, Transmission and Storage Ops manager at the Milford Compressor Station, said. “Working to create a setting where we welcome wildlife at DTE and where everybody who comes to the site can share what wildlife they see on a daily basis. It just makes me happy and brings a smile to my face.”