ATLANTA, April 20, 2005 (PRNewswire-FirstCall) — Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest energy producers, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced that seven additional grants under its Power of Flight and Longleaf Legacy partnership programs have been awarded to conservation organizations and natural resource agencies.
Since 2002, Southern Company and NFWF have together awarded 36 grants resulting in a commitment of more than $1.97 million. With matching dollars from grant recipients totaling more than $2.71 million, there has been an on- the-ground conservation impact of $4.68 million since the partnership began.
“We’re proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish so far,” said Charles Goodman, senior vice president of research and environmental policy for Southern Company. “Over the last couple of years, through our partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and other organizations, we’ve managed to make some significant improvements that will benefit Southern birds and their habitats and those who enjoy them for years to come.”
Conservation initiatives under the Power of Flight and Longleaf Legacy programs focus on areas within the service territories of Southern Company’s five operating companies: Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power and Savannah Electric.
“The seven projects that Southern Company and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are jointly funding will allow our conservation partners to restore more than 600 acres of longleaf pine forest and improve management on an additional 1,200 acres,” said John Berry, Executive Director, NFWF. “That’s great news for the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Northern Bobwhite, wild Turkey, and Bachman’s Sparrow. One grant will also lead to development of management plans for marsh birds such as rails, one of the top conservation priorities for bird conservation.”
The five-year Power of Flight program, launched in August 2002, is the largest public/private funding effort for bird conservation in the south. Through bird habitat conservation and education, the program focuses on uniquely threatened, endangered or declining Southern bird species, including bobwhite quail, the red-cockaded woodpecker and coastal species. Southern Company provides $250,000 annually to the program with matching funds from both NFWF and grantees, providing an annual impact in excess of $1 million. The company also donates $50,000 annually to support NFWF’s bird conservation programs.
The following three organizations were recently awarded Power of Flight grants:
– Mississippi State University — To monitor and develop baseline data for conservation of “secretive” coastal marshbirds, such as the Least Bittern, King Rail, Clapper Rail, Black Rail and Purple Gallinule that are found in tidal marshes of coastal Mississippi.
– Tall Timbers Research Station — To investigate the effects of growing-season burns on breeding birds, such as Bachman’s sparrow, the Northern Bobwhite, and other grassland species associated with the longleaf pine forest.
– National Wild Turkey Federation — To enhance management on 1,200 acres of longleaf pine in the Oakmulgee District of the Talladega National Forest. The project will also improve habitat conditions for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Management activities will include thinning and burning, which will ultimately lead to the natural forest conditions preferred by the woodpecker.
The Longleaf Legacy program, which began in August 2003, is a five-year program focused on restoring the South’s signature longleaf pine ecosystem to conserve biological diversity and sequester carbon. Southern Company contributes $500,000 annually to the program, also with matching funds from NFWF and grantees, resulting in an annual impact of at least $2 million. The company also donates $100,000 annually to support NFWF’s longleaf restoration efforts.
The following four organizations were recently awarded Longleaf Legacy grants:
– Tall Timbers Research Station — To restore 150 acres of longleaf pine habitat at the Pebble Hill Plantation near Thomasville, Georgia, and at the Tall Timbers Research Station near Tallahassee, Florida. This restoration will provide long-term habitat for declining wildlife species, such as the Northern Bobwhite and gopher tortoises.
– The Tukabatchee Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America — To plant longleaf pine on 42 acres of clear-cut land to enhance the 442 acres of longleaf pine that occupy a significant portion of this 744 acre Warner Scout Reservation. This project will also help restore the canebrake pitcher plant ecosystem in these same areas.
– The National Wild Turkey Federation, Inc. — To return approximately 250 acres of current loblolly pine and mixed hardwood timber to longleaf pine habitat on the Corps of Engineers managed land at Lake Allatoona in Georgia.
– The Nature Conservancy of Florida — To restore longleaf pine habitat on 168 acres of the Perdido River Nature Preserve near Pensacola, Florida. A restored longleaf ecosystem will provide a healthier, more productive, and more diverse forest system and will complement The Nature Conservancy’s program to restore this native ecosystem on a large scale in the Panhandle.
To review individual fact sheets on The Power of Flight and Longleaf Legacy programs and/or see a complete listing of awards granted, please go to www.southerncompany.com/planetpower.
About The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation [ www.nfwf.org ]
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is a non-profit organization established by Congress in 1984 and dedicated to the conservation of fish, wildlife and plants, and the habitat on which they depend. The Foundation creates partnerships between the public and private sectors to strategically invest in conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources. The Foundation distributed 709 grants in 2004 and has leveraged more than $305 million in federal funds since its establishment, for a total of more than $918 million in on-the-ground conservation.
About Southern Company [ www.southerncompany.com ]
With more than 4 million customers and nearly 39,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company is the premier super-regional energy company in the Southeast and a leading U.S. producer of electricity. Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states, a growing competitive generation company and a competitive retail natural gas business, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications.
Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are 15 percent below the national average. Southern Company has been ranked the nation’s top energy utility in the American Customer Satisfaction Index five years in a row. Southern Company has more than 500,000 shareholders, making its common stock one of the most widely held in the United States.