NFWF Announces $1.1 Million in Grants from Southeast Aquatics Fund

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced nearly $1.1 million in grants to restore and enhance habitats for native and vulnerable freshwater aquatic species in watersheds within Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Texas. The grants will generate $1.1 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of $2.2 million.The grants were awarded through the Southeast Aquatics Fund, a partnership between NFWF and the U.S. Forest Service, the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Southern Company.“The Southeast has many endangered or at-risk aquatic species, and we’re encouraged to see our partners grow with us as we announce our third year of grants and expand our work to Texas,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The native habitats this program helps to conserve are absolutely imperative to the recovery of these unique species.”The projects supported by the six grants announced today will improve more than 15 miles of stream habitat and restore 30 acres of wetland and riparian habitat for species such as the trispot darter, bridled darter, vermilion darter, Coosa creekshell, Alabama rainbow, Black Warrior waterdog and flattened musk turtle. All of these species are either listed under the Endangered Species Act or at-risk of listing, and this work will help improve their trajectories.The projects will also support technical assistance and outreach to private landowners to increase awareness of conservation needs, appropriate practices and available cost-share programs to improve water quality, quantity and connectivity.  The projects will take place within the Conasauga and Locust Fork watersheds of the Alabama-Mobile-Tombigbee Basin, the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Basin and the Colorado River Basin in Texas. These watersheds hold incredible aquatic biodiversity and present opportunities to move the needle on addressing the key threats aquatic species face in their waters.“Not everyone immediately thinks of aquatic species and the U.S. Forest Service, but the south’s forests provide clean and abundant water for thousands of communities and this fund is a great way to ensure clean water continues to flow,” said Ken Arney, regional forester for the southern region of the U.S. Forest Service.“Partnerships that bring together governmental agencies, private industry and landowners are key to improving the health of aquatic ecosystems,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr. “We are grateful to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, our many partners and landowners for working together to support private lands conservation and expand this important water quality and habitat effort.”“The aquatic diversity in the Southeast is second to none in the United States and well worth the investment. It’s also atop the list of at risk, threatened or endangered species,” said Leo Miranda, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s regional director for the South Atlantic-Gulf & Mississippi-Basin regions. “It’s critical that we continue NFWF’s fine work, along with our federal partners, state agencies and private landowners, to restore, connect, and manage these waterways.”“Recovering native aquatic species and restoring critical watersheds in the Southeast is important,” said Jeff Burleson, Southern Company’s environmental and system planning senior vice president. “Southern Company supports conservation initiatives that enrich the communities we serve by protecting our natural resources for current and future generations.”Launched in 2017, the Southeast Aquatics Fund is a competitive grants program that supports watershed-based restoration to improve the health of aquatic systems and secure populations of native freshwater aquatic species. Including this year’s grants, the program has awarded more than $2.7 million to 18 conservation projects expected to benefit more than 30 miles of stream habitat.A complete list of the grants announced today is available here.     About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and generated a conservation impact of more than $5.3 billion. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.
About the U.S. Forest Service
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 30 percent of the nation’s surface drinking water to cities and rural communities and approximately 66 million Americans rely on drinking water that originated from the National Forest System. The agency also has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 900 million forested acres within the U.S., of which over 130 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information visit www.fs.fed.us.
About the Natural Resources Conservation Service
Since 1935, the Natural Resources Conservation Service has helped America’s private landowners and managers conserve their soil, water, and other natural resources. NRCS provides technical assistance based on sound science and offers financial assistance for many conservation activities.
About the Fish and Wildlife Service
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen visit www.fws.gov.  Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfwssoutheast, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwssoutheast, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwssoutheast.
 About Southern Company
Southern Company (NYSE:SO) is a leading energy company serving 9 million customers through its subsidiaries. The company provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through electric operating companies in three states, natural gas distribution companies in four states, a competitive generation company serving wholesale customers across America, a leading distributed energy infrastructure company, a fiber optics network and telecommunications services. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and affordable prices below the national average. For more than a century, we have been building the future of energy and developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including carbon-free nuclear, advanced carbon capture technologies, natural gas, renewables, energy efficiency and storage technology. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation and a low-carbon future, Southern Company and its subsidiaries develop the customized energy solutions our customers and communities require to drive growth and prosperity. Out uncompromising values ensure we put the needs of those we serve at the center of everything we do and govern our business to the benefit of our world. Our corporate culture and hiring practices have been recognized nationally by the U.S. Department of Defense, G.I. Jobs magazine, DiversityInc, Black Enterprise, Forbes and the Women’s Choice Award. To learn more, visit www.southerncompany.com.
###​Rob Blumenthal
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
(202) 857-0166
[email protected]

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