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Southern Company, Partners Honor Waterway Conservation Efforts

ATLANTA, Jan. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Honoring natural resource conservation projects focused on protecting wetlands and streams in the Southeast is an annual tradition for Southern Company and other key supporters of the Five Star Restoration program.

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20080801/SOCOLOGO)

The latest event, held this week at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 headquarters in Atlanta, recognized community-based environmental stewardship projects in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. Southern Company is the Southern regional lead corporate sponsor for Five Star Restoration, a national program to support waterway-related conservation, in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), EPA, the National Association of Counties and the Wildlife Habitat Council.  

Since 2006, Southern Company has contributed $1.42 million to 67 Five Star Restoration grants for projects that will result in an on-the-ground conservation impact of more than $5.37 million to restore more than 540 acres of wetlands and more than 69,330 feet of riparian buffer.

"Five Star Restoration is a key component of Southern Company's environmental commitment and a visible way of making the communities we serve better off because we're there," said Chris Hobson, Southern Company chief environmental officer. "These results-oriented projects, backed by strong partnerships, are making a positive difference and are deserving of recognition."

"In states across the Southeast, Five Star Restoration grants are helping to protect and restore our wetlands and shorelines," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF.  "The continued support of Southern Company and the engagement of our conservation partners have made an enormous impact on these vital wildlife habitats."

"The groups being recognized have made tremendous strides to restore and protect waterways in communities all across the Southeast," said EPA Region 4 Administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming. "EPA is proud to continue supporting the Five Star Restoration program and we applaud each project's accomplishments."

Tuesday's event featured projects that were awarded Five Star Restoration grants in 2011:

  • Auburn University for the Restoring Stream Functions in Holland Creek project ( Alabama)
  • The Marine Environmental Sciences Consortium for the Prichard Reading Park Stream Bank Restoration project ( Alabama)
  • Pensacola Escambia Clean Community Commission for the Bayview Park Oyster Restoration project ( Florida)
  • The Atlanta Botanical Garden Inc. for the Urban Habitat Restoration project ( Georgia)
  • The Blue Heron Nature Preserve Inc. for the Blue Heron Nature Preserve Invasive Removal and Education project ( Georgia)
  •  The Crosby Arboretum Foundation for the Crosby Arboretum Swamp Forest Educational Exhibit ( Mississippi)
  • Land Trust for the Coastal Mississippi Plain for the Old Fort Bayou Connection project  ( Mississippi)

The following projects, which received multiyear grants in 2010, also were recognized: 

  • The Piedmont Park Conservancy for the Wetland Restoration in Piedmont Park project ( Georgia)
  • Ducks Unlimited Inc. for the Arrowhead Environmental Education Center Wetland Project ( Georgia)
  • Trees Atlanta for the Trees Atlanta and BeltLine Clear Creek Restoration project ( Georgia)

At the annual events, grantees are presented with commemorative plaques, made from recyclable materials, to mark the project sites.

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