Winter Timber Sale

Northern Michigan state forest rolls out large carbon project

The 109K acre forest is being closely watched by other states

(Photo by Michigan DNR: An aerial view of Walled Lake in Pigeon River Country State Forest)

MADISON, Wis. -- DTE Energy, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and several thousand natural gas customers are rolling out a large carbon retention program on forestlands across Northern Michigan.

DTE’s latest project involves the huge Pigeon River Country State Forest. The 109,000 acre wild area occupies a large swath of the Northern lower peninsula of the state. The state forest is nicknamed the “Big Wild” and includes long stretches of the Pigeon, Sturgeon and Black rivers.

Earlier in 2021 DTE and Blue Source, a large carbon offset developer, announced a carbon offset program in the Greenleaf Improved Forest Management, a 24,000-acre area of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Payments for the carbon credits will come in part from DTE’s natural gas customers who agree to pay an additional $4 to $16 per month on their utility bills. About 3,000 of the utility’s customers have signed up to participate so far,

In the Pigeon River program, the DNR agrees to reduce harvest levels from what would otherwise be possible in exchange for carbon credit payments based on an estimate of additional CO2 that will be retained by tree growth. DTE has estimated that these payments may generate up to $10 million to the state. Payments are expected to begin in 2022. DTE and the DNR believe this is the first large carbon offset program involving state land in the U.S.

The DNR said that the funds will be “re-invested into the Forest Development Fund and other DNR funds, which support activities such as additional forest management, wildlife habitat improvement, stand stocking, infrastructure, recreation projects and tree planting activities.”

Michigan DNR officials said that the Pigeon River project is being watched with interest by natural resource officials from about 25 other states.

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