The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
(NFWF), National Association of Counties (NAC) and the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) awarded over $990,000 in grants to 37 community-led wetland, stream and coastal restoration projects nationwide. These grants are being awarded through the Five Star Restoration Program
, which began in 1999 as a partnership among NFWF, NACo, WHC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Ducks Unlimited, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and several community partners have been awarded $39,998 for a wetland restoration project at the DNR managed complex in Floyd County, Georgia, north of Rome. DU will enhance a 7-acre wetland at the Arrowhead Wildlife Management Area that will be managed for waterfowl while providing long-term outdoor education opportunities for the Arrowhead Environmental Education Center. Volunteers from several local groups and organizations will benefit from personal interaction via designated community work days that will incorporate hands-on conservation and restoration activities. Project partners include J. Supply Company, Vellano Bros., Inc., Kerry Brown, Hugh Glidewell, Sunbelt Turf Farms, Neely Raper Lumber, DU and the GDNR. The partners will contribute $41,840 in matching funds to complete the project.
“Five Star is possible because of a unique collaboration with our public, private and corporate funders,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director of NFWF. “Because of their generous contributions, these community-based habitat restoration projects not only provide immediate benefits to fish and wildlife, but also help to build a local environmental stewardship ethic.”
“As the Southern region lead corporate sponsor of Five Star Restoration, Southern Company is in the fifth year of our eight-year commitment of matching funds for projects in our region, and we're proud of the progress that's been made," said Chris Hobson, chief environmental officer for Southern Company. "These grassroots efforts make a significant contribution to our environmental landscape and to the understanding of the importance of healthy wetlands, streams and coastal environments in our communities.”
The Five Star 2010 winners were selected from a competitive pool of more than 220 applications. Consideration for funding is based upon the educational and training opportunities for youth and the community at large, the ecological and other cultural and economic benefits to the community. Five Star projects must also involve a high degree of partnership between local government agencies, elected officials, community groups, businesses, schools and environmental organizations for improving local water quality and restoring important fish and wildlife habitats.
Since its start, Five Star has supported 515 projects with more than $4.25 million in federal funds, $1.7 million in private and corporate contributions and $17.5 million in matching funds at the local level. In addition to EPA, major funding is provided by FedEx, Pacific Gas & Electric’s Nature Restoration Trust and Southern Company.
Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever.