The following organizations have been awarded Five Star Restoration grants this year to implement wetland, riparian, and coastal conservation initiatives:
Restoration at Depot Creek
Recipient: The City of Lucedale
Five Star Funds: $11,979
Project Area: Lucedale, George County, Mississippi
The City of Lucedale will partner with the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain, the Boy Scouts of America, The Nature Conservancy, MSU Extension Service and Replant South Mississippi to restore approximately 1,350 linear feet of riparian corridor that winds through the City of Lucedale's 29-acre greenway. The project will engage the local community in long-term resource stewardship and rehabilitate 18 acres of wetlands using native woody and herbaceous plant species.
Dune Plant Nursery and Restoration
Recipient: Murphy High School
Five Star Funds: $10,000
Project Area: Dauphin Island, Alabama
Murphy High School will work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the City of Dauphin Island, Dune Doctors, Dauphin Island Sea Lab and the Dauphin Island Property Owner's Association to restore 4 acres of coastal dune habitat in and around the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. Students will construct and maintain a sea oat nursery on the Murphy High School campus in order to plant the sea oats on beaches and barrier islands to improve habitat for an endangered dune mouse species. The sea oat nursery will also provide stock for other local community restoration projects.
Seven Springs Restoration
Recipient: The Freshwater Land Trust
Five Star Funds: $32,000
Project Area: Birmingham, Alabama
The Freshwater Land Trust, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Samford University's Department of Biology, the Southern Environmental Center, Lawson State Community College and the Faith Apostolic Church will expand a 4,000 foot riparian buffer, meditation garden and outdoor classroom on the grounds of Faith Apostolic Church in order to protect the Seven Springs wetland system and an endangered population of the watercress darter. Lawson State Community College horticulture students will use the meditation gardens as a training ground for use of appropriate native landscape materials and provide routine maintenance. Students from Richard Arrington Elementary school will learn about the biodiversity within their own community through field trips to the Environmental Education Center being developed as part of a larger effort undertaken by Faith Apostolic Church.
Lindsey Creek Restoration
Recipient: Chattahoochee River Watch, Inc.
Five Star Funds: $20,000
Project Area: Columbus, Georgia
The Chattahoochee River Watch, Inc. will partner with the Columbus Consolidated Government, Columbus State University Environmental Science Program and the Georgia Forestry Commission to restore 2.2 miles of riparian forest buffer along Lindsey Creek. The project will engage the local community in stewardship of their water resources and help produce an educational video about the impacts of storm water and non-point source pollution on water quality in the Chattahoochee River Watershed.
Swamp Creek Riparian Restoration
Recipient: Conasauga River Alliance
Five Star Funds: $30,000
Project Area: Dalton, Georgia
The Conasauga River Alliance will partner with Whitfield County, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, Limestone Valley RC&D Council, D2 Land & Water Resources, Inc. and private landowners to treat 500 linear feet of collapsing streambank to restore riparian integrity to a 3,800-foot segment of Swamp Creek, a tributary to the Conasauga River. The site will be used for an in-field, community-based workshop to showcase actual installation of currently underutilized ecologically-preferable streambank stabilization techniques to area developers, designers and landowners.
Chicopee Woods Habitat Restoration
Recipient: Elachee Nature Science Center
Five Star Funds: $30,000
Project Area: Gainesville, Georgia
The Elachee Nature Science Center will partner with the Chicopee Woods Area Park Commission, the Chicopee Woods Weed Management Area, the Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council and the City of Gainesville in the treatment of 15 acres of exotic invasive plants in the riparian forests of the Chicopee Woods. The project will restore a diverse native plant community and enhance wildlife habitat, while educating the public and local elementary students, and also training volunteers about the threat of exotic invasive plants in Georgia.
Jones Creek East Stream Restoration Project
Recipient: Escambia County Neighborhood and Environmental Services Department
Five Star Funds: $40,000
Project Area: Pensacola, Florida
Escambia County will partner to restore and protect 2.5 acres of wetlands, including 2,200 linear feet of riparian habitat along Jones Creek. As part of this effort, Escambia County will re-contour the existing creek channel to create a floodplain and improve water quality for the area and extend the existing boardwalk to offer guided tours providing educational opportunities. Project partners include Escambia County, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Emerald Coast Utilities Authority, Bay Area Resource Council and the Barrancas Community Improvement Association.
Evans Mill Historic Site Riparian Restoration
Recipient: DeKalb County
Five Star Funds: $17,500
Project Area: Lithonia, Georgia
DeKalb County will partner to restore and protect over half an acre of wetland, including 200 linear feet of riparian buffer along Pole Bridge Creek. The restoration effort will remove litter and debris, and plant native species to enhance the forested wetland habitat. The old mill site will also serve as a rest and picnic area to be explored by visitors utilizing new educational signage. Additionally, the project will engage 3,600 students at five local schools in environmental education activities connected to their curriculum. Project partners include DeKalb County's Parks Department, Parks and Greenspace Office and Department of Watershed Management, Salem Middle School, University of Georgia Extension 4H Program and the University of Georgia Alumni Association DeKalb Chapter.
Alcovy River at East End Wetlands Restoration
Recipient: Georgia Wildlife Federation
Five Star Funds: $40,000
Project Area: Covington, Georgia
The Georgia Wildlife Foundation will partner to restore and protect 3.5 acres of wetlands along the Alcovy River at East End road in Covington, Georgia. The project will also create a demonstration site to educate the community about the economic and ecological values of healthy riverine ecosystems in conjunction with Oxford College of Emory University. Project partners include the Georgia Wildlife Foundation, The Conservation Fund, Georgia Future Farmers of America-Future Career and Community Leaders of America, Georgia River Fishing, Newton County Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful, Oxford College of Emory University, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Department of Environmental Protection Division Adopt-A-Stream and Rivers Alive, Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council, Newton County Extension and Master Gardeners and Air Conditioning Specialists, Inc.
Trail Creek Riparian Buffer Restoration
Recipient: Upper Oconee Watershed Network
Five Star Funds: $14,800
Project Area: Athens, Georgia
The Upper Oconee Watershed Network will partner to restore 800 feet of riparian buffer in the Trail Creek Watershed while educating citizens on the relationships among residential land management, and riparian habitat condition, stream health, water quality, and the species that depend on these wetlands. This project will provide local residents with tools to initiate their own backyard wetland habitat improvements and the project will conduct a series of workshops to educate and engage local citizens in watershed health and maintenance. Project partners include the Upper Oconee Watershed Network, Oconee River Greenway Commission, Chicopee/Dudley Neighborhood Association, University of Georgia, Athens-Clarke County departments of Leisure Services, Public Works, and Central Services and the Athens Garden Club.