Local grant recipients embody company’s environmental stewardship commitment

Local grant recipients embody company’s environmental stewardship commitment

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Three Mississippi Power-sponsored projects were among those honored recently by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Southern Company as part of the Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program.

Grantees from areas all around Southern Company received plaques at a ceremony in Atlanta to be displayed at each project site. The ceremony also allowed grantees an opportunity to share their project highlights with Southern Company, Environmental Protection Agency, the NFWF and other grantees.

The three service territory projects highlighted work that restores streams and watersheds throughout South Mississippi.

“Every one of the 53 communities that we serve should be applying for this grant,” said Mississippi Power Senior Environmental Specialist Patrick Chubb. “Most communities have a degraded water feature that could benefit from some restoration work.”

Here’s more on each Mississippi Five Star project:

Crosby Arboretum Quaking Bog Educational Exhibit, Picayune, Miss.

The Crosby Arboretum Foundation and partners created a 900 square-foot quaking bog wetland exhibit and environmental educational program at the arboretum. Visitors can experience the feeling of a quaking bog thanks to a floating bridge designed over the exhibit.

“Quaking bogs are temperate wetlands that are usually comprised of a thick layer of sphagnum peat moss, and sometimes range to a depth of many feet,” said Pat Drackett, director and assistant extension professor of landscape architecture at The Crosby Arboretum. “The term ‘quaking’ refers to the feeling one has when standing upon a deep layer of peat supported by water. We’ve now completed the site excavation and are in the process of constructing the bridge and boardwalk. We’ve also installed sphagnum peat moss into the exhibit.”

Pascagoula River Audubon Marsh Laboratory Project, Moss Point, Miss.

The Jackson County Board of Supervisors and partners developed and provided firsthand educational experiences to public and private land managers about practical tidal marsh restoration methods and practices. The techniques were demonstrated on a quarter acre near the mouth of Rhodes Bayou and the Pascagoula River.

“The Five Star Urban Waters and Restoration Program’s value lies in providing opportunities to identify and leverage resources well beyond what might normally be possible,” said Mark LaSalle, director of the Pascagoula River Audubon Center. “We were able to use these resources to build an outreach effort that added great value to a wetland restoration project which now serves as a living laboratory. Researchers and land managers can now get firsthand experiences with this important process.”

Coastal Streambank and Wetland Habitat Restoration at Weeks Bayou, Ocean Springs, Miss.

The Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain and partners restored approximately 2.3 acres at Weeks Bayou as a green space for scientific and educational activities. Debris and invasive species were also removed from the area and replaced with native plants and a small observation deck was built that will be used for water quality sampling and as an outdoor classroom setting.

“This project not only improves water quality, but also provides the Marine Education Center at the University of Southern Mississippi with a wonderful outdoor learning opportunity to teach landowners and students how to reclaim and restore land in sensitive coastal areas,” said Judy Steckler, Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain executive director.

Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for nearly 187,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Mississippi Power ranked first in the Southeast Electric Exchange’s 2016 Safety Performance Reports and is consistently recognized as an industry leader in reliability, customer service and safety. Visit our websites at www.mississippipower.com and www.mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on TwitterLinkedInGoogle+ and YouTube.