Amplifying Program Investments
Our partnership efforts have resulted in significant conservation outcomes.
Our partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) began more than 15 years ago with a focus on restoring and reviving the populations and habitats of Southern birds through the Power of Flight program. Not long after, the program grew and evolved into a portfolio of efforts addressing critical conservation needs including long-term restoration of the longleaf pine ecosystem, recovery of imperiled species and community-based stewardship of forests, rivers, coastal areas and wetlands. This successful alliance has generated and accelerated measurable results.
Southern Company, in partnership with NFWF, has supported hundreds of conservation projects since 2003. Zoom in on the interactive map below and click on project points for information about conservation actions taking place across the nation.
To learn more about our current conservation partnership grant programs, including recent grant awards and how to apply for a grant, see below.
Longleaf Stewardship Fund
Longleaf Stewardship Fund
Expands, enhances and accelerates longleaf pine ecosystem restoration across its historical range. It is supported by federal funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service (USFS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and private funds from Southern Company, the American Forest Foundation and others.
The Longleaf Stewardship Fund builds on the success of the Longleaf Legacy Program, a former partnership between Southern Company and NFWF (2004-2011), which invested over $8.7 million into projects that will restore more than 87,000 acres of longleaf pine forest and the native species that rely on it.
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 2018 Longleaf Stewardship Fund projects supported by Southern Company include:
Longleaf Restoration in the Gulf Coastal Plain Ecosystem Partnership Landscape (AL, FL) - IV – The Longleaf Alliance and partners will restore and maintain 112,958 acres of longleaf pine habitat within the western panhandle of Florida and southern Alabama through plantings, prescribed fire, removal of competing hardwoods, and invasive species control. Recovery of several rare species also will be prioritized, including the red-cockaded woodpecker, gopher tortoise, eastern indigo snake and reticulated flatwoods salamander.
Fort Stewart/Altamaha Longleaf Restoration Partnership (GA) - IV – The Longleaf Alliance and partners will establish and enhance 11,000 acres of longleaf pine habitat in the Fort Stewart/Altamaha Significant Geographic Area of Georgia. Project will restore longleaf habitat on public and private lands, including several properties recently acquired to restore populations of gopher tortoise, a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act.
Accelerating Longleaf Pine Ecosystem Restoration on the Fall Line (GA, AL) - III – The Georgia Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and partners will accelerate longleaf pine restoration and conservation on more than 29,000 acres of public and private land in west Georgia and east Alabama. Outcomes include planting longleaf on 137 acres and implementing prescribed fire on 29,000 acres of existing longleaf habitat, focusing on properties buffering Fort Benning, as well as high-priority state and privately-owned lands.
Restoring Wildlife Habitat and Longleaf Pine on Private Lands in Georgia - The National Wildlife Federation in cooperation with the Georgia Wildlife Federation will engage 40 private landowners to establish and enhance 2,700 acres of longleaf pine habitat in Georgia. Project will support a wildlife biologist position that will provide technical assistance to private landowners, develop forest management plans, and connect landowners with Farm Bill programs and other sources of financial assistance to implement conservation practices benefitting bobwhite quail and other longleaf and grassland-associated wildlife.
Engaging Working Forest Landowners, Building Stakeholder Collaboration & Developing Solutions (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TX, VA) - II – The Forest Landowners Association will engage large family forest landowners in longleaf restoration and at-risk species conservation throughout the historic range of the longleaf pine. Project will assist landowners with the establishment and enhancement of at least 2,000 acres of longleaf pine, develop regulatory predictability tools for at-risk species endemic to the longleaf ecosystem, reducing uncertainty for landowners wishing to manage for longleaf habitat conditions on their lands, and explore market-based solutions to address the economic constraints to large-scale longleaf restoration on private lands.
Accelerating At-risk Species Recovery in the Gulf Coastal Plain Ecosystem Partnership Landscape (AL, FL) – The Longleaf Alliance and partners will accelerate recovery of declining and at-risk species, including bobwhite quail, gopher tortoise and reticulated flatwoods salamander within the western panhandle of Florida and southern Alabama. Project will support capacity to implement species-specific management and monitoring, such as captive rearing of salamanders and transloction of gopher tortoises, as well as development of a National Bobwhite Quail Initiative Focal Area to support bobwhite quail habitat restoration and recovery.
Improving Longleaf Habitat for At-risk Species in Southwest Georgia – The Georgia Forestry Commission will engage family forest owners in southwest Georgia to implement forest practices that improve habitat for at-risk wildlife, including gopher tortoises and eastern indigo snakes. Partners will host management-focused classes and events to educate landowners and will provide technical and financial assistance for landowners to establish and enhance more than 2,500 acres of longleaf pine habitat.
Longleaf Pine and Wildlife Habitat Restoration on Alabama Private Lands - V – The Alabama Wildlife Federation will restore and enhance 5,000 acres of longleaf pine on private lands within priority counties for longleaf pine and northern bobwhite quail restoration in Alabama. Project will engage at least 100 private landowners through targeted outreach and technical assistance and assist landowners with identifying eligible incentive programs for establishing and managing longleaf pine and associated wildlife habitat.
Longleaf Pine Restoration and Management in the Okefenokee/Osceola Landscape (GA, FL) - II – The Georgia Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and partners will restore longleaf pine on family forest lands damaged by the West Mims wildfire in South Georgia and northeast Florida. Project will establish 2,000 acres of longleaf pine on fire-impacted lands and reduce fuel loads on 50,000 acres of existing longleaf forests through thinnings and prescribed burns, reducing the likelihood of future catastrophic wildfires.
Talladega Mountains Longleaf Pine Restoration (AL, GA) - III – The Alabama Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and partners will increase prescribed fire capacity through the addition of a seasonal burn crew in east-central Alabama and west Georgia. Project will support additional burning and montane longleaf pine habitat restoration on the Talladega National Forest and other priority public and private lands, benefitting red-cockaded woodpecker, Bachman’s sparrow and other longleaf-dependent species.
Apalachicola Longleaf Restoration Initiative (FL, GA) - VI – The Florida Chapter of The Nature Conservancy will establish 740 acres of longleaf pine and enhance an additional 30,000 acres of existing longleaf habitat on the Apalachicola National Forest and other high-priority public and private lands within the eastern panhandle of Florida and southwest Georgia. Project will improve habitat for numerous at-risk species and will support the recovery of the federally threatened eastern indigo snake through captive breeding and release on restored longleaf pine habitat.
Strategic Prescribed Burn Assistance on Private Lands in the Longleaf Legacy Landscape (AL, FL, GA) – Tall Timbers Research will build capacity to increase prescribed burning on private lands across the Longleaf Legacy Landscape, a key private-land dominated area in northwest Florida, southwest Georgia and south Alabama. Project will implement a variety of longleaf conservation assistance programs to burn 5,250 acres, prioritize future efforts based on the collection of key fire activity and conservation data, and develop an innovative and integrated outreach program across organizations that will enhance future targeted longleaf restoration and prescribed fire application on private lands.
Mississippi Longleaf Pine Ecosystem Restoration – The Mississippi Land Trust will establish 325 acres of longleaf pine and enhance an additional 4,160 acres of existing longleaf habitat with prescribed fire in the “Piney Woods” landscape of southern Mississippi. Project will support long-term capacity for prescribed burning by stimulating private prescribed fire contractors, training and assisting private landowners with burns on their own lands, and engaging the forest industry in prescribed fire efforts.
Improving Habitat for At-risk Species in Southwest Alabama Longleaf Forests - II – The Alabama Forestry Foundation will engage family forest owners through strategic social marketing in southwest Alabama to restore and enhance longleaf forests and improve habitat for at-risk species. Project will engage 450 landowners through outreach events and improve 1,300 acres of longleaf forests through planting, thinning, prescribed burning and invasive species control, benefiting gopher tortoises, eastern hognose snakes and other at-risk species.
Florida Longleaf Pine Restoration Incentives Program – The Florida Forest Service will provide technical and financial assistance to implement longleaf ecosystem restoration on more than 2,000 acres of private lands within priority areas in Florida. Project will market to landowners to build interest in longleaf restoration, prepare forest management plans to guide longleaf restoration efforts, and provide financial assistance to landowners to offset planting and prescribed burning costs.
Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration
Fosters grassroots stewardship of natural resources nationwide through community-based wetland, riparian and coastal habitat restoration and education. Major funding is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Southern Company and other corporate sponsors.
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
Southern Company supports on-the-ground wetland, riparian, in-stream or coastal habitat conservation and restoration projects in key areas served by its subsidiaries. Priority is given to projects that directly benefit at-risk species and habitats; address watershed and federal recovery or state wildlife action plans and coordinate with those plan coordinators; and, engage the public – particularly youth – in hands-on, outdoor conservation experiences that build awareness of the importance of protecting and recovering priority species and habitats.
The 2018 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration grants include: [Keep current but adjust large spacing that exists on current web page between states]
Living Shoreline of Western Mobile Bay – Murphy High School will stabilize 500 feet of shoreline along the western side of Mobile Bay to restore functionality as a nursery area for young estuarine organisms. The project will install oyster shell bags parallel to the shore to establish a natural breakwater from wave action and plant emergent grasses between it and the shoreline. Project partners include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, UMS Wright Preparatory School, the Alabama Coastal Foundation and local landowners.
Riparian Restoration and Community Education at Red Mountain Park – The Red Mountain Park Fund will improve streams by removing trash and invasive plants, planting native vegetation and installing erosion control materials at Red Mountain Park in Birmingham. The project will fully restore 10 acres and involve 1,825 community members in water conservation. Project partners include Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Alabama Cooperative Extension Services, Cawaco Resource, Conservation and Development Council, Jefferson County Commission Stormwater Program, several local universities, and the many volunteer groups the Park partners with annually.
Restoring Oyster Populations in Choctawhatchee Bay through Community Stewardship – Northwest Florida State College Foundation will restore 2 acres of oyster habitat in Choctawhatchee Bay, an estuary found in Okaloosa and Walton counties of northwest Florida. The project will engage 150 oyster gardeners, 450 students and 400 additional community members to enhance the declining oyster population. Activities include constructing three new oyster reefs and colonizing them with community-grown oysters. Project partners include St. Joe Community Foundation, local seafood restaurants, New Belgium Brewing, Okaloosa and Walton School Districts, Water Management District, City of Valparaiso, Northwest Florida State College Athletic Department and AmeriCorps.
Briarlake Forest Park Restoration – Park Pride will restore 15 acres of urban old-growth forest habitat to improve local area green water infrastructure in the Echo Lake corridor and remove invasive vegetation threatening the tree canopy and forest habitat. The project will engage five local resource management partners and 100 trained volunteers to manually remove 15 acres of invasive vegetation from intermittent streams beds, tree canopy and forest floor. Project partners include DeKalb County Government Recreation Parks and Greenspace, EcoAddendum, the Deep Forest Field School and Clean Water Consultants.
Restoring and Connecting with Urban Wetlands at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve – Blue Heron Nature Preserve will engage 300 volunteers to restore 2.5 acres of wetlands in Atlanta, by removing six invasive plant species and other vegetation not suited for wetlands and supplementing the area with native plantings. The project will also develop educational curricula to facilitate the research and education opportunities involved in this project and build a Discovery Dock to safely bring children and scientists to the wetlands. Project partners include the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management, Atlanta Audubon Society, The Amphibian Foundation, Marcy Scott, Beech Hollow Farms and Hands On Atlanta.
Habitat Restoration and Environmental Education – East Decatur Greenway will restore 1 acre of habitat at a former brownfield site in Atlanta through removing invasive plants and planting native trees. The project will engage nearby schools to create an environmental education site plan and incorporate signage and site management plans with community partners. Project partners include the Friends School of Atlanta, Trees Atlanta, Georgia Native Plant Foundation and The Amphibean Foundation.
Park Forest Green Infrastructure for Storm Water Management – The Village of Park Forest (VOPF) will convert 2.5 acres of existing turf into demonstration rain gardens in three local parks. The project will engage 1,500 community members to create rain gardens out of depressional areas immediately upstream of storm sewer inlets. This will positively impact water quality by retaining water and allowing it to infiltrate and recharge groundwater before discharging to Thorn Creek in Park Forest, Illinois. Project partners include VOPF Departments of Recreation and Parks, Public Works and Economic Development and Planning, Park Forest Environment Commission, Thorn Creek Nature Preserve Management Commission, Friends of Thorn Creek and the Calumet Collaborative.
Engaging Communities in Stewardship of Local Waterways – The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago will engage community members in volunteer opportunities to restore 5 acres of habitat including wetlands, ephemeral ponds, oak savanna, woodland and prairie habitat in Cook County. The project will engage 700 volunteers and benefit a range of species including blue-spotted salamanders, chorus frogs and spring peepers. Project partners include Forest Preserves of Cook County, Student Conservation Association, Chicago Public Schools and community volunteers.
Oyster Restoration in the Lower Wolf River Watershed – The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and partners will restore 5 acres of sub-tidal oyster reef habitat in the lower Wolf River watershed within the bay of St. Louis, to benefit oysters and associated species. The project will utilize traditional cultch-deployment and monitor impacts on local water quality, oyster reef development and associated finfish utilization of historically lost oyster reef. Project partners include the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Mississippi Power, The Chemours Company, The Pascagoula River Audubon Center, St. Stanislaus College and Our Lady Academy high schools in Bay St. Louis.
Educational Awareness and Trail Construction at Bayou Auguste – The Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain will restore Bayou Auguste by removing trash and invasive species on 10 acres and installing a trail that will provide opportunities to improve the community's understanding and stewardship of the bayou. The project will utilize strategic partnerships to design and implement the trail plan while engaging over 100 community volunteers in Biloxi, with an emphasis on engaging neighborhood children and surrounding schools. Project partners include Mississippi State University Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, Biloxi Housing Authority, East Biloxi Community Collaborative and Women In Construction.
Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program
Supports enhancing coastal habitats of the Gulf of Mexico and bolsters priority fish and wildlife populations, while strengthening resilience of the communities and ecosystems that are not expected to be addressed through Gulf Coast oil spill recovery funding. Program funding is provided by Shell Marine and Habitat Wildlife Program, Southern Company, NRCS and others.
Specific priorities focus on strengthening coastal resilience; advancing conservation and management on working lands for wildlife and water quality; and conserving living resources, particularly coastal birds.
To date, Southern Company has focused its support on coastal bird conservation.
The 2018 grants funded through the Gulf Coast Conservation Grants Program include:
Alabama Wildlife Federation will increase and expand landowner engagement and on-the-ground stewardship practice implementation on at least 5,000 acres of private lands in Alabama’s Gulf Coast counties and lower Gulf coastal plain. The project will benefit habitat for migratory shorebirds, waterfowl and other wetland wildlife, as well as terrestrial birds and wildlife whose properly managed habitat benefits water quality downstream. This will be achieved through capacity building, expanded partnerships, outreach, education, demonstrations and technical assistance to private landowners.
Audubon Mississippi will bridge key data gaps concerning the status, distribution, and conservation needs of priority shorebird species in the northern Gulf of Mexico. This project will re-establish and expand standardized migratory and breeding bird surveys on the barrier islands of Mississippi, which will augment ongoing work on the mainland of Mississippi and the mainland and barrier islands of Alabama. This project also will extend and expand a snowy plover banding program.
Additionally, to support bird priorities in coastal Georgia, the following project was supported by Southern Company through the Atlantic Flyway Shorebirds Initiative in 2018:
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources will assist shorebird conservation across a vital geographic component of the Atlantic Flyway through a three-pronged effort: (1) filling knowledge gaps on the red knot’s ecology during spring migration; (2) mitigating disturbance for the red knot and beach-nesting birds; and (3) conducting nesting and roosting site restoration planning. The project will take place at remote and disturbed sites along coastal Georgia and South Carolina.
Bats for the Future Fund
Funds innovative tools and treatments needed to slow the spread of white-nose syndrome (WNS) and speed the recovery of surviving bat populations in North America. Major funding for this program is provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), with additional funding provided by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Southern Company.
WNS is a deadly disease caused by a fungus. It attacks bats during hibernation, and it could potentially push some bat species to the brink of extinction. The disease has been found in 32 states and five Canadian provinces, destroying an estimated six million bats in the past decade. This decline in bat populations poses a major threat to the ecosystems that rely on them.
Priorities of this Fund are to develop management solutions for WNS with revolutionary tools and techniques to minimize short- and long-term impacts of the disease. Proposed treatments may involve ecological, molecular, synthetic, biochemical, mechanical, and other strategies that reduce the impacts of WNS on bats and/or demonstrate new disinfection products or procedures to minimize reservoirs of the fungal pathogen Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) in hibernacula.
The 2018 Bats for the Future Fund projects include:
Understanding the Role of a Virus in the Virulence of the Fungus that Causes White-nose Syndrome (PA) - The Pennsylvania State University will use Pseudogymnoascus destructans partitivirus (PdPV) and virus-free strains of Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), the fungus causing white-nose syndrome (WNS), to assess the role of the virus in virulence of Pd genes and spread of WNS. This project will develop a virus-induced gene silencing system using infectious clones of PdPV to test the role of potential virulence genes of Pd, and develop virus-free or altered virus strains as a WNS treatment strategy.
Testing Ultraviolet Light and Polyethylene Glycol as a White-Nose Syndrome Management Strategy (AR, AL, Canada) - Bat Conservation International will evaluate the efficacy of using two non-toxic agents -- ultraviolet light and polyethylene glycol -- to treat mine walls, and reduce the prevalence of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome (WNS) on roosting surfaces in bat hibernacula. The project will test the two environmental cleaning agents in three mines along the northern and southern edges of the WNS spread, to test the potential of environmental cleaning as a WNS management strategy.
Developing and Testing Delivery Methods for Vaccine Treatments to Reduce White-Nose Syndrome in Bats (CO, MN, TX, WI) - The U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center will design and test mass delivery methods for vaccines and other treatment options as a strategy to reduce the occurrence of white-nose syndrome in bats. The project will develop and test an automatic spray technology device for delivering treatments to bats as they fly into maternity roosts or hibernacula for fall swarm, and assess oral consumption of treatment and effectiveness of a topical delivery method through the use of biomarkers.
Integrated Disease Management System Approach to Reduce White-Nose Syndrome Mortality in Texas – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will establish an integrated disease management system approach aimed at minimizing white-nose syndrome (WNS) mortality amongst tricolored bats in Texas. This project will use multiple mitigation approaches, including high-pressure steam cleaning, application of polyethylene glycol (PEG), and volatile organic compound (VOC) treatments, to reduce WNS-related mortality, and slow the spread of Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), the causal agent of WNS.