Grants support habitat restoration in Alabama

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Two recently awarded grants will help support habitat protection and restoration along two of Alabama’s important rivers.

The Five-star and urban water restoration program provide conservation grants to Southern Alabama Land Trust (SEL) and the Keeper of the waters of the Petite Rivière to support their efforts to protect and enhance portions of the Fish River in Baldwin County and the Little River watershed in northeast Alabama.

The Five Star Program is a collaborative effort of several partners, including Alabama Power and his parent Southern Company, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency. The program focuses its resources on restoring habitat for rivers, streams and coasts.

In Baldwin County, the grant will support SALT, formerly the Weeks Bay Foundation, in its efforts to maintain and protect the 60-acre Alta Fish River Nature Preserve. The grant will provide resources for invasive plant removal, prescribed burning and native planting, if needed, as well as trail construction and educational excursions. Located in southwestern Baldwin County, the Fish River empties into Weeks Bay, which empties into Mobile Bay.

SALT’s partners on the Fish River project include the GulfCorps Conservation Student Association, Baldwin County Sewer Service, Mobile County Wildlife and Conservation Association, University of West Florida Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Nature Connection.

In the northeast corner of the state, Little River Waterkeeper will use its grant to support elements of the Little River Watershed Restoration Project – a long-term plan to protect the river and its natural surroundings, which are faced with increasing pressure from development and tourism.

Activities funded by the grant include riverbank restoration and planting native grasses and other species along power line rights-of-way.

Much of the Little River in Alabama flows atop Lookout Mountain in DeKalb and Cherokee counties. The unique river system and surrounding habitat are home to rare and endangered plants and animals. It also houses the Little River Canyon National Preserve and DeSoto State Park, which attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

Decades ago, Alabama Power played an important role in protecting the lands that eventually became part of the Little River Canyon National Preserve.

Alabama Power supports SALT and its Alabama Coast Bird Festival, scheduled for October 6-9. The event includes birding opportunities at sites along Alabama’s Gulf Coast as well as bird and conservation workshops and exhibit on the Coastal Alabama Community College campus. Since 2004, Birdfest has raised over $ 100,000 to preserve and protect the area’s coastal birding and wildlife habitat.

“Alabama Power is proud to continue to play a role, along with many partners, in the Five Star program,” said Susan Comensky, vice president of environmental affairs for Alabama Power. “For many years, Five Star has helped protect and enhance important habitat and water quality in urban and rural communities across our state, as well as along the Alabama coast. These efforts help preserve rare native plants and animals while enhancing recreation and providing opportunities for children and adults to experience the beauty and biodiversity of this incredible place we call home.

Learn about Alabama Power’s continued efforts to protect natural resources here.

(Courtesy of Alabama News Center)


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