The Nature Conservancy partnered with Gulf Power Company to plant 1,500 longleaf pine seedlings at the Betty and Crawford Rainwater Perdido River Nature Preserve in Escambia County. Approximately 20 volunteers from Gulf Power’s corporate office and Crist plant participated in the volunteer day in an effort to restore the longleaf pine ecosystem.
This preserve, located along the Western banks of the Perdido River, protects close to seven and a half miles of riverfront from development. The Nature Conservancy is working to restore this ecologically significant habitat once covered some 90 million acres of the south eastern coastal plain and stretched from Virginia to Texas. Today – reduced by development, logging and the absence of fire – only about 3 percent of the original forests remain.
The Conservancy has initiated a massive project, working across nine states in partnership with many agencies and organizations, to protect, restore and expand the longleaf forests. The Conservancy’s goal is to grow the ecosystem to eight million acres by 2024. This will require land protection, thoughtful land use planning, and state-of-the-art stewardship by private landowners and public land managers.
Gulf Power Company has been a significant partner to the Conservancy’s work. Through the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, Gulf Power has provided funding over the past several years for restoration of the preserve. They also contribute their time with volunteer work days each year at the preserve. A recent gift from Gulf Power will allow the preserve to be open to the public by fall of 2013. A parking area and trailhead will be established along Hurst hammock road located at the southern tip of the preserve. The initial opening will provide for foot traffic only; however, dependent upon future funding, a canoe and kayak access point may be added to the nature trail.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
The Nature Conservancy in Alabama
205 251 1155, ext 107