A Conservation Celebration with The Nature Conservancy and Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Announcement and celebration of a significant public-private partnership for land acquisition on Alabama’s coast to benefit people and nature.

Mobile, AL | October 20, 2017

Considered the last remaining piece of a conservation protection puzzle, property comprising 2,460 acres in south Mobile County has been acquired by The Nature Conservancy. The property connects conservation lands from Alabama’s Grand Bay Savanna to the State of Mississippi at Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge—more than 26,500 combined acres. Acquired through funds from a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) grant under the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, the 2,460 acres will eventually be transferred to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) Forever Wild Land Trust.

“The Alabama Department of Conservation is thrilled that these properties will be added to the publicly conserved lands in the Grand Bay Savanna. This area is one of the largest, undeveloped areas in our State and provides critical habitat for shrimp, crabs, oysters, birds and other coastal wildlife. This a true jewel of Coastal Alabama,” said Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “Adding this acquisition to the Forever Wild program will ensure the perpetual stewardship of this beautiful and biodiverse habitat.”

“Thanks to our supporters and partners, this important asset to Alabama’s natural, outdoor and historical heritage will be protected,” Roger W. Mangham, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Alabama said. “Several members of our team have worked on this project for a combined 21 years. That never-give-up attitude inspires our work. This acquisition was made possible through a partnership made up of ADCNR, Forever Wild Land Trust, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Region’s Bank, Sybil Smith Foundation, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

A priority watershed for long-term conservation, Grand Bay Savanna is an intact mosaic of natural communities that once characterized the central Gulf Coast plain. Located in southern Mobile County and southeastern Jackson County, Mississippi, much of the biodiversity at Grand Bay is concentrated in the botanically rich, wet pine savanna habitats. One of the largest and least disturbed wet pine savannas in the United States, this area supports some 20-distinct natural ecological communities and no fewer than 73 rare species. Habitats include salt flats, brackish marsh, maritime forests, swamps and wet pine savannas. These biologically diverse savannas are adjacent to the equally rich estuarine system of eastern Mississippi Sound.

In addition to coastal mammals, reptiles, and shorebirds, the Grand Bay area is heavily used by migratory waterfowl, including blue and green winged teal, mergansers, scoters, canvasbacks and redheads, as well as numerous neotropical migrants. These upland and coastal habitats feed into the vast seagrasses and oyster reefs that dominate Grand Bay which provide shelter and food for a variety of commercially and recreationally important fish and shellfish, including spotted seatrout, brown shrimp, blue crab and oysters.

The Conservancy and ADCNR have a long-term, successful relationship that has resulted in the acquisition and preservation of key coastal lands adjacent to and east of the project that are now part of the state’s Forever Wild program. The State of Alabama’s 6,500 acre Forever Wild Grand Bay Savanna Tract connects with the Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge and the overlapping Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve which encompass an additional 18,000 acres of relatively undisturbed coastal wetlands and wildlife habitats open to the public.

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The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Jacqueline Gray Miller
Alabama Marketing Manager
118 N. Royal Street, Suite 500
Mobile, AL 36602
334-538-3539 (cell)