The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Southern Company met with 2013 Five Star and Urban Waters Program recipients this week to recognize and highlight their work to restore streams and watersheds.
Representatives from a pair of south Mississippi projects were on hand in Atlanta to give updates on the work they’ve accomplished.
The Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain established the Turkey Creek Greenway/Blueway in Gulfport. The project, which involves land restoration and trail building on 190 acres and water quality monitoring in Turkey Creek, is scheduled to be completed in summer 2015.
“The funds from this Five Star grant allowed us to once again partner with Mississippi Power to make a difference, both physically and culturally, in important neighborhoods in south Mississippi,” said Judy Stekler, executive director of the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain. “We’ve been able to work with local residents and continue developing the buffer zone along the Turkey Creek corridor. We’ve also established a map of the Turkey Creek Blueway for visitors to the area.”
The City of Pascagoula removed invasive species and installed a rain garden to capture the storm water runoff from the parking lot at B.B. Jennings Park.
“We called it a ‘living laboratory’ not only because of its ability to showcase native plant and animal species, but also because of how these natural features affect the city’s water sources,” Pascagoula Parks and Recreation Director Darcie Crew said. “Plants are thriving and slowing storm water runoff, which is creating cleaner water.”
The Five Star and Urban Waters Program develops and supports community stewardship of local natural resources in cities and towns across America. The program funds projects that will preserve these resources for future generations while at the same time enhancing habitat for local wildlife. Projects seek to address water quality issues in priority watersheds, such as erosion due to unstable stream banks, pollution from storm water runoff, and degraded shorelines caused by development.
“Watershed and stream restoration projects play a significant role in improving public health, providing additional recreational opportunities and boosting local economies,” said EPA Regional Administrator Heather McTeer Toney. “Work by grant awardees is essential to protecting and restoring these valuable resources and keeping our lakes, rivers and streams clean.”
“Southern Company’s support of the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program reflects our long-standing commitment to protecting and preserving our natural resources,” said Southern Company Chief Environmental Officer Larry Monroe. “We are proud to partner in restoring these important ecosystems for the benefit of local wildlife and the communities we serve.”
More information on the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program: can be found here.