Grants will fund 11 projects across Southern Company’s footprint
Southern Company, in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and other public and private partners, have collectively awarded $5.3 million in grants to restore, enhance and protect longleaf pine forests across the Southeast.
Southern Company contributed $600,000 that will directly fund conservation for 11 projects across its service territory. When combined with funds from other partners and matching contributions, the grants represent a total conservation impact of $12.2 million.
Twenty-one grants were awarded through the Longleaf Landscape Stewardship Fund and are expected to establish more than 15,000 acres of new longleaf pine forest and will enhance an additional 400,000 acres through prescribed burning, invasive species removal and other forest management practices. Grantees will engage private landowners through workshops and technical assistance to restore and maintain longleaf pine habitat on their lands.
“We are proud to support conservation through the Longleaf Landscape Stewardship Fund,” said Jeff Burleson, Southern Company’s senior vice president for environmental and system planning. “These grants will support diverse longleaf-pine ecosystems in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Virginia that are vital to many plant and wildlife species. We’re committed to stewardship and conservation of this rich landscape we’re so fortunate to share with our communities.”
The grants will also increase and improve habitat for several at-risk species, including the red-cockaded woodpecker, gopher tortoise and northern bobwhite quail. These species depend on mature longleaf pine canopy and understory these projects will help to restore and maintain.
The awards mark a decade of grant-making through the public-private partnership, which has now invested nearly $50 million since the program launched in 2012, leveraging an additional $62 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of more than $112 million.
“Now in its tenth year of grant-making, the Longleaf Landscape Stewardship Fund continues to expand and improve the longleaf pine ecosystem, benefiting numerous at-risk species,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “This longstanding public-private partnership has enabled us to engage more project partners, reach more landowners and support landscape-scale projects that will improve and maintain the iconic longleaf pine ecosystem.”
A complete list of the 2021 grants made through the Longleaf Landscape Stewardship Fund is available here.