Restoring Fresh Water Habitats

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Restoring Fresh Water Habitats

February 14, 2018

Fresh water fish throughout the Southeast are thriving in new homes thanks to creative thinking from Environmental Affairs employees. In Alabama, the Fish Habitat Enhancement Program is decking reservoirs with bundles of recycled Christmas trees and restoring habitat for fresh water fish. After 25 years, the program has recycled 65,000 Christmas and other trees. With a strong focus on improving local habitats through innovative efforts, we are making a positive impact that benefits all living things in our communities.

The program identifies areas in aging reservoirs where fish habitat has degraded. The trees are then strategically placed and anchored so they don’t cause an obstruction and aren’t subject to swift currents. By bundling trees together and properly placing them, the program creates natural fish habitat. These natural structures provide important habitat to fish safety, reproduction and way of life. In many ways, these structures sustain a balanced ecosystem.

“It’s part of our goodwill and stewardship outreach to foster a healthy ecosystem and, in turn, provide our community with good places to fish.”

Alabama Power Senior Environmental Affairs Specialist- Mike Clelland

Once put into the reservoirs, natural habitats benefit more than fresh water fish. The structures are marked by GPS and loaded onto a map—accessible to community members for navigation purposes. This access stimulates fishing, tourism and recreation.

The dependency is two-fold as the program can only benefit the community and the environment with the help of local volunteers. The Fish Habitat Enhancement Program relies heavily on volunteer donations of trees as well as man power to keep the program up and running.

Learn more about Environmental Stewardship at Southern Company.