Native prairie restorations will continue to transform a utility right-of-way at the State Botanical Garden, with support from Georgia Power.
The $50,000 gift from Georgia Power will go toward the garden’s prairie project, which is creating about 10 acres of native Georgia grasslands and pitcher plant bogs along the stretch of right-of-way that cuts through the garden.
The native prairies and plant bogs have been identified as high priority by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and will provide climate-adaptive habitat for ground-nesting birds, small mammals and reptiles.
“We are extremely grateful for the generous gift from Georgia Power Foundation, and we believe this is a great opportunity for us to transform underutilized areas of the garden into natural Georgia habitats. Most importantly, we intend to educate people on the important role rights-of-way can play in rare species and habitat conservation,” said Jennifer Cruse-Sanders, director of the State Botanical Garden, a UGA Public Service and Outreach unit. “We hope to use this project as a model for cost-effectively creating and managing diverse and functioning habitats in rights-of-way across the Southeast.”
The project is in three phases, with the initial phase restoring the northern two-thirds of the right-of-way into Piedmont grasslands.
Later, the garden will develop Coastal Plain pitcher plant bogs in the remaining right-of-way that lies in the floodplain of the Middle Oconee River. Native plant displays and a pedestrian loop highlighting the prairie habitats will be added.
As part of the project, the garden staff will prepare a series of workshops on prairie restoration for Georgia Power, other utility companies and the public. The Wildlife Conservation Society also contributed to the project, which is estimated to cost about $141,000.
Writer: Aaron Cox, firstname.lastname@example.org, 706-542-3631
Contact: Jenny Cruse-Sanders, email@example.com, 706-542-6131