Another way that Georgia Power shows our environmental commitment to our state is by protecting Georgia's wildlife and plants. In addition to managing our own company's operations on our 82,000 acres of land reserved for watershed protection, future utility use and power-generation plant sites, Georgia Power has a long history of partnering with governmental and community organizations to support conservation resources and natural habitats.
Our forests are more than a renewable resource. Long-term management of timber stands has preserved breeding areas for both game and nongame species.
Eight federally-listed and many state-listed threatened or endangered species inhabit the land we own or sites where we have easements. Georgia Power foresters and biologists who work in these areas follow federal and state laws and guidelines to protect these species, their nesting sites and their habitats. Several endangered animal and plant species thrive on maintained transmission right-of-way corridors.
Georgia Power also participates and cooperates with the state's Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) for surveying to preserve listed plant and animal species.
Learn more about some of the initiatives that Georgia Power is involved with below.
Georgia Power has teamed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a decade-long osprey nest collaboration at Lake Allatoona, north of Atlanta. Since this partnership's inception, Georgia Power has installed approximately 10 repurposed distribution poles for osprey nesting habitats/platforms on transmission structures around the lake.
To protect insulators and transformers, nesting platforms are fitted on top of the poles, and nesting material is replaced on the platforms so the nests and power lines can function together.
In addition to helping the Corps, Georgia Power also has installed about 50 osprey platforms at its lakes or on transmission structures across the state.
Gopher tortoises favor transmission right-of-way corridors in the state's coastal plain region because vegetation management by Georgia Power provides the open habitats and desired vegetation component.
When Georgia Power crews do maintenance or construction, our company has procedures in place for workers to follow to protect these tortoises and their burrows. Our company has worked with Georgia's Department of Natural Resources to provide habitats for displaced tortoises with hopes of building a viable population in the future on Georgia Power property near Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro. In 2013, 21 tortoises from Effingham County were successfully relocated to their new home on Georgia Power land as part of the plan to re-establish longleaf pine habitats on suitable company-owned sites.
In 2007, Georgia Power and Southern Nuclear signed a Safe Harbor Agreement with Georgia's DNR to manage approximately 1,800 acres at its two nuclear sites for red-cockaded woodpecker and other longleaf-dependent species, such as the gopher tortoise.
Georgia Power has provided habitats foR federally protected indigo snakes by encouraging gopher tortoises and protecting their burrows which are used by the indigo snakes. Indigo snakes have been documented in several locations on Georgia Power property and our transmission easements across the coastal plain of Georgia.
During the past two years, Georgia Power used our bucket trucks two times to install two cameras at Berry College in Rome, Ga., to view bald eagles nesting. To view these nests, see bald eagles. In addition, Georgia Power has partnered with the state DNR to ensure the conservation of 10 to 15 bald eagle nests on our property. To protect these nests, Georgia Power puts buffers around the nests when managing our timber. In the 1970s, there were only five known nests in the state. Today, these once-endangered birds, which are still protected under the Eagle Protection Act, have about 200 nests.
As part of our company's efforts to support conservation of the natural habitat of plants and animals throughout Georgia, Georgia Power is helping to prevent Georgia aster, a purple-flowering plant found typically in the upper Piedmont and lower mountain regions, from becoming an endangered species. To this end, our company signed on in 2014 as a cooperating partner on the Georgia aster Candidate Conservation Agreement (CCA) in a public-private partnership with various governmental agencies and others partners. While the aster is no longer on the endangered-species list as of September 2014, this agreement formalizes our commitment to manage our lands in a way that is sustainable for Georgia aster populations. This responsibility includes searching for new populations, monitoring to estimate population trends, adhering to mowing and herbicide stipulations, and marking locations of populations. The plants, which are found in 15 counties in Georgia, typically along roads and on utility transmission rights-of-ways, are beneficial for all types of plants and wildlife.
Longleaf Pine Restoration
To enhance the ecosystem in our state and the southeastern United States and enhance long-term land management, Georgia Power and our parent company, Southern Company, are diligently working to help restore longleaf pine forests native to this area.
Georgia Power has planted more than 3,500 acres of longleaf pine on company land. During its 10-year existence, Southern Company's Longleaf Legacy Program, which has now evolved and expanded into the Longleaf Stewardship Fund, also has assisted many private landowners, nonprofits, state agencies and others with restoration efforts.
Southern Company is currently involved in a landmark public-private partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to provide financial support through grants to expand the existing longleaf habitat and establish large-scale healthy ecosystems. Grant funding for the 2014 projects, including ones in the Fort Stewart/Altamaha vicinity of southeast Georgia and the Big Lazer Creek Wildlife Management Area in west central Georgia, are expected to restore 11,800 acres of longleaf pines, including 8,000 acres within the Southern Company service area.
Longleaf pine forests once covered more than 90 million acres across nine states from Virginia to Texas but has dropped to only 3 percent of its original acreage. Georgia Power's proud history of environmental stewardship is a key part of restoring longleaf pines across Georgia. As an advocate for the longleaf pine, Georgia Power is helping halt and reverse a century-long decline, benefiting many threatened and endangered species dependent on the habitat.
At Goat Rock Dam, Georgia Power is working to co-exist with the environment through its Georgia rockcress conservation efforts.
The rare perennial herb, with the botanical name Arabis georgiana, has thrived on Georgia Power property near the dam.
A prominent population of the plant was discovered on the banks of the Chattahoochee River near Goat Rock Dam. It's one of only 28 sites known in Georgia and Alabama.
The Georgia rockcress received federal designation as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Thanks to conservation efforts already in place, no additional protection measures are needed at this Georgia Power site.
Since rockcress was discovered at the dam, it has thrived. As part of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's relicensing agreement, Georgia Power agreed to conduct long-term monitoring of species. Based on monitoring data collected by Georgia Power, the U.S. Fish and the Wildlife Service considers the Goat Rock Dam population to be in an ideal condition, as it is stable and protected.
Ducks, Geese and Wild Turkeys
Georgia Power partners with Ducks Unlimited and the DNR to provide and enhance wetland habitats for ducks and geese, as well as other game and nongame, and also partners with the state's Wildlife Resources Division and the National Wild Turkey Federation to enhance wildlife habitats.
Learn more about Georgia Power's other stewardship initiatives.
Because wildflowers and birds love the state's pocket prairies, Georgia Power is partnering with the State Botanical Garden of Georgia to protect and restore them.
Georgia's prairies disappeared under the plow centuries ago, but Georgia Power is working with the Garden to bring back these islands of species diversity and use the company's right-of-way in a beneficial partnership. This past Earth Day, the Garden's volunteers planted more than 31 species of wildflowers in the Elaine Nash Prairie Project, a five-acre swath of land belonging to Georgia Power and managed by the Garden as a natural prairie.
Georgia Power actually began work with this project several years ago when crews were performing routine vegetation maintenance on the transmission right-of-way that intersects the Gardens in Athens. Crews began to remove a variety of tall-growing trees and shrubs from the easement because the vegetation was not compatible for the right-of-way and had grown to the point that it had become a potential threat to the safe operation of the 115-kV transmission lines.
The original effort prompted the Garden to reconsider its use of the Georgia Power easement. Garden officials soon approached the company about an idea to transform the right-of-way into a native prairie. The initial idea was to create a display for the public of proper use of the right-of-way while encouraging the establishment of a variety of native grasses.
Prairies and the plants that thrive in them are important components of Georgia's natural heritage and provide pollinators, such as the endangered monarch butterfly, with important food sources. Many species of birds use the open, sunny grasslands for nesting and rearing their young, consuming large quantities of insects in the process.Back to Top ↑