We participate in many environmental stewardship programs to protect wildlife, conserve natural resources and help ensure the communities we serve continue to be healthy, desirable places to live.
Pictured are whooping crane.
We’re committed to working with public and private partners on several grant programs that have positive impacts on wildlife and our ecosystems.
Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration
The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration grants are awarded based on the following objectives:
- On-the-ground restoration: Must include wetland, riparian, in-stream or coastal habitat restoration
- Environmental education: Must integrate meaningful education through community participation or integration with K-12 environmental curriculum
- Partnerships: Must involve a diverse set of community partners
- Measurable results: Must result in measurable ecological, educational and community benefits
The 2017 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration grants include:
Upper Village Creek Tree Canopy Restoration – The Nature Conservancy and partners will restore 1.7 acres and perform invasive plant removal along 1,000 linear feet of streambank at Village Creek. This project will engage the community in restoring Birmingham, Ala.’s tree canopy, thereby enhancing local air and water quality. Partners include the City of Birmingham, Cawaco RC&D Council Inc., Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve and Village Creek Human and Environmental Justice Society.
Irondale Riverwalk Restoration – The Freshwater Land Trust and partners will restore, stabilize and replant a 0.18-acre riparian buffer to enhance water quality and stabilization of the Cahaba River in eastern Jefferson County, Ala. This project will remove invasive species, establish native species and enhance riparian areas to increase local biodiversity and enhance recreational opportunities for the local community. Partners include City of Irondale, Cahaba Blueway Partners, Church of the Highlands, Cahaba River Society and Grow Irondale.
Citizen Science and Community-based Restoration for the Coastal Dune Lakes of Walton County – The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance and partners will work to improve 70 acres of aquatic habitat and restore four acres of dune habitat. Through community-based restoration and citizen-scientist initiatives, this project will expand the understanding of the globally rare, critically imperiled Coastal Dune Lakes of Walton County, Fla. Partners include Mattie M. Kelly Environmental Institute, Walton County Board of County Commissioners, Silver Sands School and local volunteers.
Creekside Trail Restoration and Education at Stroud Elementary – Howard B. Stroud Elementary School and partners will restore a ¾-mile creek-side trail, 4,500 linear feet of riparian habitat and 48 acres of surrounding forest to directly improve water quality and aquatic and terrestrial habitat. This project will provide learning opportunities to Stroud Elementary students and the local community in water quality monitoring and protection, plant and animal life, wetland function, and educational and career opportunities in the environmental protection field. Partners include Clarke County District, Watershed UGA, Athens-Clarke County Stormwater, Kiwanis, Oconee River Land Trust, Chicopee-Dudley Neighborhood Association, Upper Oconee Watershed Network, EcoReach, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, US Geologic Survey and US Environmental Protection Agency.
Beech Haven Restoration through Athens Youth Conservation Stewards – The Athens Land Trust and partners will establish a corps of Athens Youth Conservation Stewards (AYCS) to remove woody invasive species on 25 acres and improve wildlife habitat and water quality. This project will provide teens from underserved communities with employment experience and leadership skills while improving an important public space in their community. Partners include Athens-Clarke County Unified Government, Oconee River Greenway Commission, Great Promise Partnership, Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful, Oconee Rivers Audubon Society and local volunteers.
Urban Stewardship and Restoration for Proctor and Utoy Watersheds – EcoAddendum and partners will restore 6.2 acres of floodplain, Piedmont mesic hardwood forest, 4,350 linear feet of streambank and 100 feet of riparian vegetation in the Proctor Creek watershed in west Atlanta. This project will implement restoration planning, on-the-ground community-based habitat restoration and educational outreach to help manage stormwater runoff, improve habitat connectivity and promote an environmentally-aware citizenry. Partners include City of Atlanta Dept. of Parks and Recreation, Beech Hollow Farms, Park Pride, City of Atlanta Tree Conservation Commission, Hauser Consulting, Trees Atlanta, Arborguard, Sheer Ecological and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper.
Urban Gardens and Wetland Restoration at Gwinnett Technical College – The Gwinnet Tech Foundation and partners will protect and restore .9 acres of existing wetlands on the campus of Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, Georgia in metro Atlanta. This project will engage students, staff and the community in capturing and treating stormwater runoff and protect downstream waters. Partners include Gwinnett Tech Foundation, Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources, UGA Extension Gwinnett County Public Schools and Gwinnett Coalition.
Restoring Bird-friendly Habitat at Blue Heron Nature Preserve – The Atlanta Audubon Society and partners will replace invasive species with native, bird-friendly plants on three acres and conduct avian surveys at the Land O’Lakes unit of Blue Heron Nature Preserve. Project will engage 50 volunteers and three-hundred participants in educational outreach and provide quality foraging, nesting and stopover habitat for birds in metro Atlanta. Partners include Blue Heron Nature Preserve, Rock Springs Restoration, Greening Youth Foundation, Georgia Native Plant Society, Amphibian Foundation and National Audubon.
Marsh Protection Promenade – The Savannah Tree Foundation and partners will improve 70 yards of marshline and tidal creek water quality, filter 1.7 acres surface area of stormwater runoff and reduce erosion on the campus of Savannah State University in Chatham County, Ga. This project will augment both the immediate and long-term health of coastal marsh habitat and provide educational and recreational benefits to the local community. Partners include Savannah State University, One Hundred Miles, Healthy Savannah and Town of Thunderbolt.
Bats for the Future Fund
Bats for the Future Fund grants are awarded based on the following objectives:
- Focus on treating or managing the host, pathogen, and/or environment to reduce spread and impacts of white-nose syndrome (WNS)
- Safety and feasibility at individual through ecosystem scales
The 2017 Bats for the Future Fund projects include:
Western Michigan University – Field Application of Chitosan to Improve Survival and Halt Progression of WNS at the Disease Front
Chitosan is a powerful biocidal agent that kills the fungal agent causing WNS without affecting the growth of native cave fungi at applied concentrations. Treatment of bats with chitosan decreases pathology associated with the disease and increases bat survival.
U.S. Forest Service – Ultra-violet Light as a Treatment for WNS of Bats
Laboratory-based survival testing of UV light as a cost-effective control strategy for increasing survival of WNS-affected bats to determine whether larger scale field trials and development of UV delivery equipment are warranted. The fungal agent that causes WNS is extremely sensitive to DNA-damaging agents such as UV light, so it can selectively kill the fungus on bats while minimizing impacts to normal skin microbes found on bats.
Texas Tech University – Manipulating Microclimates to Reduce WNS Severity
Researchers will investigate the feasibility of microclimate manipulation as a strategy for reducing disease severity in bats affected by WNS through a captive hibernation approach. Environmental conditions affect both bats and fungus; manipulating such conditions in hibernacula may minimize disease severity and increase survival. Results of the research will provide critical insight into the most effective microclimate manipulation targets and how both bats and fungus will respond to these manipulations.
Thompson Rivers University – Developing a Prophylactic Probiotic Approach to Reduce WNS Severity
Researchers will develop a probiotic prophylaxis for the prevention of WNS to delay or prevent the growth of the fungus that causes WNS for a critical portion of the winter. With this boost, the treatment may enable bats to successfully survive hibernation and establish a new method to reduce WNS mortality.
Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania – Determining the Effectiveness of PEG8000 to Inhibit Growth of the Fungus Causing WNS in Bat Hibernacula
Field test the effectiveness of treating caves with Polyethylene Glycol 8000 (PEG) to inhibit the growth of the fungal agent that causes WNS. PEG is an osmoticum and induces matric stress. The project also will test the non-target effects of PEG on the microbial community during environmental application at bat hibernation sites.
U.S. Geologic Survey, National Wildlife Health Center – Develop and Test Vaccine Candidates Against WNS in Bats
Further develop and evaluate several vaccine candidates that show promise in reducing bat morbidity and mortality from WNS. Test methods for delivering vaccines to bats in both field and laboratory settings.
Power of Flight
Power of Flight grants are awarded based on the following objectives:
- Addressing conservation needs of bird species characteristic of the Southeast, including red-cockaded woodpecker, northern bobwhite quail, whooping crane, coastal waterbirds and shorebirds, and other imperiled species
- Implementing actions that achieve specific species or regional habitat conservation plan goals
- Promoting collaborative relationships or enhancing existing partnerships
- Taking actions that result in direct and measurable conservation benefits
The 2017 Power of Flight projects include:
Wildlife Mississippi will place 80 acres of grassland in Jackson County, Miss., under permanent conservation easement. The project will protect an agricultural property that provides important habitat for the critically endangered Mississippi sandhill crane and is currently used by up to nine cranes, which is seven percent of the wild population, for foraging and raising colts.
The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife will promote water conservation best management practices on 6,000 acres of agricultural lands within the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River basin. The project will protect flow to benefit habitat for six federally listed mussel species, gulf sturgeon and a host of other endemic species native to the Chipola River and ACF basin.
Longleaf Stewardship Fund
Longleaf Stewardship Fund grants are awarded based on the following objectives:
- Restoring the longleaf pine ecosystem through collaborative and result-oriented actions that help advance the goals of the Range-Wide Conservation Plan for Longleaf Pine
- Maintaining, enhancing and expanding productive understory habitat of the longleaf pine ecosystem
- Aiding federal agencies in achieving their mission-oriented objectives
- Supporting recovery of iconic species through habitat enhancements
- Strengthening the capacity of local organizations to establish, advance or lead local longleaf pine ecosystem restoration efforts
- Expanding the number of landowners engaged in longleaf pine restoration and maintenance on private lands, and supporting working forests by demonstrating their environmental and socioeconomic benefits
The 2017 Longleaf Stewardship Fund projects include:
- The Fort Stewart-Altamaha Longleaf Partnership (Georgia) – The Longleaf Alliance will coordinate with partners to establish 140 acres of longleaf pine, treat an additional 21,600 acres with prescribed fire, and build a network of public and private landowners focused on native groundcover restoration through prescribed burns, native seed collection and planting. This project will improve habitat for the gopher tortoise and other longleaf-dependent species on public and private lands within close proximity to Fort Stewart and Townsend Bombing Range.
- The Okefenokee – Osceola Local Implementation Team (Georgia/Florida) – The Nature Conservancy, Georgia will coordinate with partners to establish 2,574 acres of longleaf pine and improve management of an additional 27,880 acres of existing longleaf habitat on public and private lands. Project will continue training young people living below the poverty level to serve on longleaf restoration teams, build prescribed fire capacity, and educate private landowners through a prescribed fire manager certification session, two landowner workshops and a longleaf academy.
- Tall Timbers Research, Inc. (Georgia/Florida) and partners will install artificial nest cavities and translocate 25 red-cockaded woodpeckers (RCWs) on private lands in the Red Hills region of Florida and Georgia. Project will treat more than 38,000 acres of existing longleaf with prescribed fire to improve and maintain forage and nesting habitat for translocated RCWs.
- The Talladega Mountain Longleaf Conservation Partnership (Alabama/Georgia) – The Nature Conservancy, Alabama will coordinate with partners to establish 447 acres of longleaf pine and improve 17,700 acres of existing longleaf habitat with prescribed fire on public and private lands with the support of a seasonal fire crew. Project will develop a conservation plan to prioritize and guide future restoration and conduct outreach to engage private landowners to restore longleaf pine.
- The Forest Landowners Association (Alabama/Florida/Georgia) will establish or enhance 2,000 acres of longleaf pine habitat and host Forest Forums and Timber Talks to bring together landowners, USFWS and other key stakeholders. Project will engage large working forest landowners and forest consultants in key longleaf pine priority areas to increase communication and identify specific actions for addressing barriers to longleaf restoration.
- The Appalachicola Regional Stewardship Alliance (Florida) – The Nature Conservancy, Florida will coordinate with partners to establish 862 acres of longleaf pine and improve more than 25,000 acres of existing longleaf habitat through the use of prescribed fire and planting of native groundcover on public and private lands. Project will benefit Tyndall Air Force Base, improving habitat both on and off base for numerous wildlife species including the eastern indigo snake, a federally-threatened species, as well as the gopher tortoise and Bachman's sparrow.
- The Gulf Coastal Plain Ecosystem Partnership (Alabama/Florida) – The Longleaf Alliance will coordinate with partners to establish 333 acres of longleaf pine and improve an additional 55,350 acres of existing longleaf habitat through prescribed fire and private landowner outreach and technical assistance. Project will translocate 140 gopher tortoises, a candidate species for possible listing under the Endangered Species Act, to high-quality, managed land and provide technical assistance and educational opportunities for private landowners, including a Longleaf Academy.
- The Longleaf Alliance, Inc. (Alabama/Florida/Georgia/Mississippi) and partners will translocate 60 red-cockaded woodpeckers (RCWs) to properties designated as recovery sites by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Project will manage and improve 6,000 acres of longleaf pine forest, providing high quality habitat for RCW nesting and foraging.
- The Alabama Wildlife Federation (Alabama) will provide technical assistance, outreach, and information to private landowners, contractors, and resource professionals to establish or enhance grassland habitat throughout Alabama. Project will increase awareness of the ecological value of native grassland habitat, foster a collaborative environment among project partners and restore 3,000 acres of grassland habitat for northern bobwhite quail and other grassland birds.
- The DeSoto-Camp Shelby Longleaf Implementation Team (Mississippi) – The Nature Conservancy, Mississippi will coordinate with partners to establish more than 745 acres of longleaf pine and enhance an additional 2,500 acres of existing longleaf habitat with prescribed fire on private lands to benefit several rare species including the gopher tortoise, black pine snake and dusky gopher frog. Project will engage 850 private landowners through outreach and technical assistance and enroll 12 new landowners in stewardship programs.