ATLANTA, June 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Two new wetland and riparian conservation grants through the Five Star Restoration program were announced today by Georgia Power and its environmental stewardship partners.
Georgia Power participates in the program as part of Southern Company's partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Association of Counties and the Wildlife Habitat Council.
Southern Company this year is providing $190,704 in grants that, combined with partner matching funds, will result in a total of $503,543 to help restore 33.54 wetland acres and 6,050 feet of riparian buffer across the four states in which the company's retail business operates.
Since 2006, Southern Company has contributed a total of $1.2 million to 57 Five Star Restoration grants for projects that will result in an on-the-ground conservation impact of $4.8 million to restore more than 546 acres of wetlands and nearly 50,068 feet of riparian buffer.
"Five Star Restoration is an essential part of Georgia Power's commitment to work with diverse partners to conserve our region's natural resources," said Ron Shipman, vice president of environmental affairs for Georgia Power. "The unique skills and dedication that our new grantees bring to Five Star Restoration will only serve to broaden the scope and effectiveness of the program."
"This year's Five Star Restoration grants will help citizens implement important conservation projects in their communities. They'll also foster ongoing environmental stewardship," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. "We're pleased to support a program that unites the best efforts of public, private and corporate funders."
"The Five Star Restoration program in the Southeast is an excellent example of building partnerships, empowering communities and restoring our natural resources," said EPA Regional Administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming. "This program brings together students, conservation corps, other youth groups, citizen groups, corporations, landowners and government agencies to provide environmental education and training through projects that restore wetlands and streams."
The following Georgia projects have been awarded Five Star Restoration grants for 2011:
Urban Habitat Restoration
Recipient: The Atlanta Botanical Garden Inc.
Grant amount: $38,379
To restore a total of 10 acres across multiple sites in the metropolitan Atlanta area, including the Atlanta Botanical Garden, some DeKalb County parks and schools and the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Invasive species will be removed from wetland and riparian forests and replaced with non-invasive native species. This two-year project will incorporate multimedia educational outreach to involve citizens and educate the public about the adverse impacts of invasive species. Partners include The Atlanta Botanical Garden Inc., Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance, DeKalb County Natural Resource Management Office, Atlanta Audubon Society, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, National Wildlife Federation, Butterfly Conservation Initiative and Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Blue Heron Nature Preserve Invasive Removal & Education
Recipient: Blue Heron Nature Preserve Inc.
Grant amount: $12,500
To treat seven acres of major invasive species on the Blue Heron Nature Preserve located in Fulton County, Ga. This project will eradicate the remaining privet, English ivy, wisteria, commercial lawn grasses, and other invasives, reducing them to a manageable level for a well-developed volunteer program to mechanically combat the re-emergence of these species. Signage will document the project and explain the role of native plants in the ecosystem and their relationship to other flora and fauna. Partners include Blue Heron Nature Preserve Inc., Oglethorpe University, Rock Springs Farm, Atlanta Audubon Society, Hands-On Atlanta, Team Buzz (Georgia Tech), Galloway School Environmental Club, Peachtree-Nancy Technical Advisory Committee and Girl Scout Troop 20319. Five Star Restoration is one of three major environmental stewardship programs sponsored by Southern Company in partnership with NFWF. In addition, the partnership supports projects to conserve birds characteristic of the southern United States through Power of Flight and to restore the South's longleaf pine ecosystem through Longleaf Legacy.
Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation's largest generators of electricity. The company is an investor-owned, tax-paying utility with rates below the national average. Georgia Power serves 2.4 million customers in all but four of Georgia's 159 counties.
SOURCE Georgia Power