The following organizations have been awarded Five Star Restoration grants this year to implement wetland, riparian, and coastal conservation initiatives:
Reed Harvey Community Greenway Wetland Park
Recipient: Cawaco Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc
Five Star Funds: $27,500
Project Area: Center Point, AL
To restore an urban stream with 200 feet of stream channel restoration and construct approximately one acre of a bio-retention basin and wetland park in Center Point, Alabama. The project fits into the larger Five Mile Creek Greenway system and will serve as a demonstration site with interpretive signage to educate the community regarding the ecological, aesthetic, flood, erosion control, and water-quality benefits of proper streamside maintenance. Workshops and videos will also be used to help educate park maintenance officials, landscape professionals and commercial property owners. Project partners include: Jefferson County Soil & Water Conservation District; U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service; City of Center Point; and Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham.
Margaret Yarborough Elementary School Restoration Project
Recipient: Wrights Mill Road Elementary School
Five Star Funds: $39,920
Project Area: Auburn, AL
To restore 15 acres of woodland wildlife and bird habitat by improving water quality and fish habitat. The project partners will repair creek banks; remove non-native invasive plants; clear nature trails; construct a greenhouse in which the students will grow native plants for transplanting on-site; build handicap-accessible boardwalks and observation stations to accommodate physically challenged students; and apply for certification by the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program. Project partners include: Auburn University; City of Auburn; Alabama Invasive Plant Society; Lee County Master Gardeners; Vought Water Gardens; Save Our Saugahatchee; and Parent-Teacher Association.
Deadman's Island Restoration
Recipient: The City of Gulf Breeze
Five Star Funds: $30,000
Project Area: Lucedale, Gulf Breeze, FL
To construct a 1,240-foot natural oyster reef breakwater using recycled oyster shell to reduce wave action and protect the natural resources of Deadman's Island. The breakwater will protect the salt marsh, shoreline, dune ecosystem and submerged aquatic vegetation, increasing habitat for marine and terrestrial wildlife. The project engages all students in the life of an oyster and similar animals and provides greater knowledge of Pensacola Bay ecology. Partners include: school districts of Santa Rosa and Escambia Counties; Florida Department of Environmental Protection; University of West Florida; and local volunteers from Rotary and Garden clubs, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.
Colvard Spring Habitat Restoration
Recipient: Conasauga River Alliance
Five Star Funds: $14,500
Project Area: Murray County, GA
To restore 1.5 acres of the heavily silted Colvard Spring, improving vital habitat for the Georgia-listed Coldwater darter. The site will provide a potential safeguard area for Tennessee yellow-eyed grass, a federal endangered wetland plant of the Limestone Ridge and Valley Province. The project will serve as a demonstration workshop for county, landowner, and resource managers. Partners include: Georgia Department of Natural Resources; Tennessee Aquarium Aquatic Research Institute; Badger Farm Bed and Breakfast; Murray County Public Works; and Limestone Valley RC&D Council.
Gainesville/Hall County CWMA Weeds, Seeds & Deeds Program
Recipient: Elachee Nature Science Center
Five Star Funds: $10,000
Project Area: Gainesville, GA
To restore 30 acres of the floodplains of the upper Walnut Creek Watershed by controlling Microstegium and other invasive plants, and planting 5 acres of native plants propagated from sources in the park which will provide important wildlife habitat to the Georgia Piedmont. The project will educate local students, teachers and the public about the impacts of exotic invasive species and engage private citizens in controlling invasives on their properties. Partners include: Gainesville/Hall County Cooperative Weed Management; Chicopee Woods Area Park Commission; Georgia Exotic Pest Plant; Hall County Master Gardeners; Smithgall Woodland Garden; and Gainesville State College.
North GA Wetlands Restoration and Rare Species Recovery
Recipient: Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance
Five Star Funds: $34,590
Project Area: Bartow, Catoosa, Chatooga, Floyd, Gordon, Murray, Whitfield, and Walker Counties, GA
To restore 11.1 acres of wetlands and riparian zones in northwest Georgia to help protect and recover populations of three rare plant species: Tennessee yellow-eyed grass, Georgia alder and Virginia spirea. This project will also educate and engage students, teachers and the public through training, participation, educational lesson plans and conservation display gardens. Partners include: Atlanta Botanical Garden; Georgia Department of Natural Resources; Georgia Power; Georgia Department of Transportation; and USDA Forest Service.
Putting the (native) Garden Back in Garden Hills!
Recipient: Garden Hills Elementary School
Five Star Funds: $10,000
Project Area: Atlanta, GA
To restore 300 feet of riparian buffer along a small urban stream in Atlanta that can serve as an outdoor classroom for students to learn about watersheds and wildlife protection. This project will remove invasive plants and re-vegetate with native plants. Interpretive educational signs will be posted at the site for the community to explain the importance of native plants to watersheds and wildlife. Partners include: Atlanta Public Schools; Hands On Atlanta; Boy Scouts; Georgia Native Plant Society; Fernbank Museum; and others.
Gum Pond Educational Exhibit
Recipient: The Crosby Arboretum Foundation
Five Star Funds: $32,418
Project Area: Picayune, Mississippi
To create a 13,300 sq. ft. gum pond wetland exhibit with interpretive signage and trails at the Crosby Arboretum in Picayune, Mississippi, where it will serve as an outdoor classroom for area schools and the visiting public. This project will be the first forested wetland education exhibit to interpret gum pond ecology in the Southern U.S. Project partners include: Mississippi State University and its Extension Service; Pearl River County Master Gardeners; and 4-H Forest Club.