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Visiting Five Star & Urban Waters Restoration grants in Savannah

<p>For the past 13 years, Southern Company has supported community-based restoration efforts of coastal, wetland and stream-side ecosystems through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration grant program.</p>
<p>The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration program provides financial and technical assistance through a competitive grant process to local partnerships with a focus on urban waters and watersheds. The program emphasizes results-based collaboration with diverse partners, including environmental groups, public agencies, non-governmental organizations, landowners, schools, businesses and other stakeholders.</p>
<p>Last week, the Southern Company environmental stewardship team along with members of NFWF visited previous grant recipients in the coastal Georgia area as well as got the chance to discuss the grant slate for 2019.</p>
<h3>Previous grantees visited</h3>
<li><b>The Burton 4-H Center</b> received a grant in 2014 for the construction of a <a href="" target="_blank">Living Shoreline on Tybee Island</a>. The living shoreline used oyster shells to provide habitat for Eastern oysters to settle upon and native plants to halt erosion.&nbsp;Witnessing the successful transformation, at a location that teaches environmental programming to school’s across Georgia, was gratifying.</li>
<li><b>Cay Creek Wetland Demonstration</b> was also part of the 2014 grant slate and has served as a wetland restoration demonstration and protective buffer between the park access road and freshwater wetlands that flow into a tidal creek. Cay Creek also has an extensive nature boardwalk, and an outdoor classroom illustrating the influence of human actions on natural wetlands.<br>
<li><b>Savannah State University</b> received a grant in 2017 and is awaiting final environmental permitting to break ground to begin the University’s Marsh Protection Promenade. This project&nbsp;will improve both the immediate and long-term health of the adjacent coastal marsh habitat and provide educational and recreational benefits.&nbsp;Ultimately, the project will improve 70 yards of marsh shoreline 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.<br>
<p class="MsoNormal">Since 2006, Southern Company has helped fund 128 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration grants, resulting in an on-the-ground conservation impact of over $14 million, which has aided in the restoration of over 1,300 acres and nearly 138,000 feet of streamside buffer in communities we are privileged to serve.</p>
<p>After visiting these projects, it has reinforced where Southern Company stands on being “A Citizen Wherever We Serve.” We are committed to leaving the communities we serve in better shape, because we are there.</p>