Southern Company and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation today announced that six new and three continuing grants have been awarded to conservation and natural resource agencies through the Power of Flight and Longleaf Legacy partnership programs.
"Southern Company is proud of its longstanding partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the much needed assistance we have been able to give these respected organizations," said Chris Hobson, Southern Company's chief environmental officer. "Together we are pleased to continue to help the conservation efforts throughout the Southeast."
Since 2002, Southern Company and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation have contributed nearly $10 million through 88 grants through the Power of Flight and Longleaf Legacy programs. In addition, grant recipients have contributed more than $44 million in matching funds, resulting in an on-the-ground conservation impact of almost $54 million since the program's inception.
"As Southern Company continues to extend its track record of generously supporting wildlife conservation, it shows what it means to be a determined community leader," said Jeff Trandahl, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's executive director. "Our irreplaceable longleaf pine forests and scores of species of birds benefit greatly from this commitment, as does every person who appreciates the great outdoors."
Through these two programs, more than 177,000 acres of longleaf pine and other critical habitat on public and private lands will be restored or enhanced to the benefit of bird populations across the Southeast.
Four new grants were awarded under the Power of Flight program:
- National Wild Turkey Federation - to accelerate the recovery of red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW) populations by creating additional corridors between occupied and unoccupied clusters across boundaries of the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge and Oconee National Forest. This project will help to meet the RCW recovery objective by enhancing approximately 1,000 acres of habitat through a variety of mechanical and chemical mid-story control treatments and approximately 10,000 acres by prescribed fire over a three year-period.
- Florida Park Service - to implement priority management actions for the conservation of shorebirds and seabirds by expanding existing monitoring, predator control and educational programs. The overall goal of the project is to provide long-term protection of shorebirds, seabirds and their habitat.
- St. Catherines Island Foundation -to determine if artificial incubation of American Oystercatcher eggs is a practical and effective management tool for increasing hatching and fledging success. This head-starting project is designed to evaluate hatching and fledging success of manipulated vs. natural nests; determine the return on investment of this management technique and its applicability in other locations; and to increase annual fecundity of local populations of American Oystercatcher over the short-term while long-term habitat solutions are being resolved.
- University of Tennessee - to establish much-needed capacity to bring additional resources, partners, strategic guidance and greater focus to geographic areas of high importance for the conservation of Northern Bobwhite and other declining grassland bird species. Northern Bobwhite and other grassland-dependent species have decreased by up to 75 percent in numbers since the 1960s. This project will help realize region-wide habitat and population gains through staffing of key positions and restoration of identified bobwhite focal areas in cooperation with landowners within the Black Belt Prairie region of Alabama and Mississippi.
Continuing support was provided to three grants under the Power of Flight program:
- Operation Migration USA - to increase the number of whooping cranes led South each year by ultralight aircraft from Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin to the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. This three-year grant is helping increase the number of birds released annually, with the goal of helping the flock reach a self-sustaining population level in four to five years.
- Milliken Forestry Company - to accelerate translocation efforts for the red-cockaded woodpecker over a five-year period. Funds are supporting a biologist on the Apalachicola National Forest in Florida who monitors potential donor families, with the goal of increasing from 20 to 40 the number of woodpeckers available for translocation each year. This is a continuation of a grant formerly made to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over several years.
- Project Orianne - to restore or improve 10,000 acres of longleaf pine habitat within the Apalachicola and Conecuh national forests, providing habitat for declining bird populations, such as red-cockaded woodpeckers and Bachmann's sparrow, and other species of concern, such as the gopher tortoise and indigo snake. This project builds on the existing infrastructure and expertise of the U.S. Forest Service by providing additional funding to implement proven land management practices within large tracts of contiguous forests on federal lands.
Two new grants were awarded under the Longleaf Legacy Program:
- National Wild Turkey Federation - to conduct a three-year initiative that will restore 10,000 acres of longleaf pine in its natural range on private and public lands in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. This project is part of NWTF's continued effort to help facilitate the restoration of longleaf pine across its native range in the Southeast to benefit game and non-game.
- Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge - to restore longleaf pine forest habitat on approximately 834 acres of the refuge through site preparation, prescribed burning and reforestation with containerized longleaf pine seedlings. This project will benefit migratory and resident avian species, including Northern Bobwhite, brown-headed nuthatch, Eastern wild turkey, and Bachman's sparrow.
Visit www.southerncompany.com/corporateresponsibility to learn more about these programs and other conservation and stewardship efforts.
A nonprofit established by Congress in 1984, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) sustains, restores and enhances the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Through leadership conservation investments with public and private partners, NFWF is dedicated to achieving maximum conservation impact by developing and applying best practices and innovative methods for measurable outcomes. Since its establishment, NFWF has awarded over 10,800 grants to more than 3,700 organizations in the United States and abroad and leveraged - with its partners - more than $635 million into over $1.5 billion for conservation.
With 4.4 million customers and more than 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast. A leading U.S. producer of electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are below the national average. Southern Company is consistently listed among the top U.S. electric service providers in customer satisfaction by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Visit our Web site at www.southerncompany.com