Gulf Power invests $5.8 million in wildlife conservation in Florida

Published on May 16, 2018 by Dave Kovaleski

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Gulf Power, an energy company that serves customers in Florida, has made a sizable investment in environmental conservation efforts.

Since 2003, the company has invested $5.8 million in close to 100 different conservation projects in Northwest Florida that have helped preserve thousands of acres of land and countless species.

“Gulf Power’s support of environmental stewardship grants have kick-started or enhanced many community involved environmental education and restoration projects that otherwise might not have gotten off the ground,” Jeff Cole, Gulf Power Stewardship coordinator, said. “These local level and regional projects benefit the area we live in by enhancing recreational areas and improving air and water quality. It’s important to be a leader by being out investing and participating in the community in which we live, work and recreate.”

Among the conservation projects is the shoreline stabilization on Bayou Grande in Pensacola along with the native longleaf pine forest restoration from Perdido River to Blackwater River State Forest.

Its grants have also assisted with the recovery efforts of the red-cockaded woodpecker, gopher tortoise, and indigo snake. Further, Gulf Power grants have eradicated invasive species and supported coastal and wetland restoration in South Walton County and elsewhere.

These investments were made through a 15-year partnership between the Southern Company, the parent company of Gulf Power, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).

“Through a stringent vetting process, stewardship teams from Southern Company and its subsidiaries, including Gulf Power, work with the NFWF team to prioritize and focus investments to ensure the conservation outcomes are more impactful,” Kimberly Blair, a spokesperson for Gulf Power, said. “Since our stewardship folks work closely with landowners, regulatory and conservation agencies and nonprofits, they understand how the projects submitted for grant dollars benefit environmental strategies at work in our service area and future conservation goals.”

NFWF approaches conservation in a way that ensures that Southern Company’s and Gulf Power’s investments are going to move the conservation needle in a meaningful way.

“We bring together the best science combined with our vast experience with on-the-ground conservation in order to achieve specific outcomes over a 10-year period,” Jay Jensen, director of NFWF’s Southern Regional Office, said. “Long-term results hinge on partnerships because no single entity has the resources or capacity to achieve conservation at a scale large enough to help species across the many and varied landscapes across the country.”

Jensen added that these public-private partnerships are well situated to achieve positive conservation outcomes.

“The types of investments being made in the recovery of species such as red-cockaded woodpeckers and gopher tortoises are a great example of this approach, and these kinds of investments are also helping them to keep species from being listed under the Endangered Species Act,” he added.