greenbreast darter, tricolor shiner and coosa darter

$2.1 Million in Conservation Grants Awarded from NFWF’s Southeast Aquatics Fund

Eleven projects will assist in restoring aquatic habitat and supporting imperiled species in the Southeast

Top to bottom: greenbreast darter, tricolor shiner, coosa darter

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 8, 2020) – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced $2.1 million in grants to restore and enhance aquatic habitats for vulnerable native freshwater aquatic species in watersheds within Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. The grants will generate more than $2.9 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of more than $5 million.

The grants were awarded through the Southeast Aquatics Fund, a partnership between NFWF and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Southern Company. 

“The Southeast is a critical region for aquatic biodiversity in the United States, and the Southeast Aquatics Fund plays a vital role in protecting many of the imperiled species in this region,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “This program especially helps to build conservation momentum for some of the remarkable, but lesser known, aquatic species such as the Alabama rainbow and the Georgia blind salamander, and the habitats they depend on in the Southeast.”

The 11 projects announced today will conduct outreach and provide assistance to private landowners to implement conservation practices, make improvements to stream crossings, and monitor targeted species to better understand their status and habitat conditions. In total, these projects will benefit more than 20 miles of stream habitat, improve management of more than 50,000 acres of working lands, and benefit species including the bridled and trispot darter, blue shiner, Alabama rainbow and Coosa creekshell.

“Water quality is essential for healthy stream habitat and a cornerstone of natural resources conservation," said NRCS Acting Chief Kevin Norton. "Through these projects, NRCS will have enhanced opportunities to partner and work on private working lands watersheds across these vital southeastern landscapes.”

"We are fortunate to have incredibly diverse landscapes and biodiversity across the southeast," said Ken Arney, regional forester for the southern region of the USDA Forest Service. "This initiative brings together partners from NFWF, state, federal, private entities, and landowners, each playing a critical role in conserving the healthy watersheds that supply our communities with clean water and sustain our abundant aquatic life."

Guided by NFWF’s Longleaf Forest and Rivers Business Plan, these projects will take place within the Coosa River Basin in Alabama and Georgia, including the Big Canoe Creek and Holly Creek watersheds, the Lower Flint River watershed in Georgia and within coastal watersheds across the five Gulf Coast states. Today’s projects present opportunities to address key threats impacting aquatic species and benefit the remarkable aquatic biodiversity found in these watersheds.

“We are pleased to work with NFWF, the private sector and other federal agencies to implement conservation actions through the Southeast Aquatics Fund,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith. “Conserving aquatic species and habitats in the southeastern United States is an important focus area for the Service, and our collaborative work in Alabama’s Big Canoe Creek watershed and other areas will benefit species, habitats and people.”  

“Southern Company is committed to enriching the communities we are privileged to serve and to helping protect the natural resources we all share. Supporting the Southeast Aquatics Fund is one way we do our part in critical watershed restoration work,” said Stan Connally, Southern Company executive vice president of Operations.

Launched in 2017, the Southeast Aquatics Fund is a competitive grants program that supports watershed-based restoration to improve the health of aquatic systems and secure populations of native freshwater aquatic species. Including this year’s grants, the program has awarded more than $4.8 million to 28 conservation projects expected to benefit more than 50 miles of stream habitat.

A complete list of the 2020 grants made through the Southeast Aquatics Fund is available here.    

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 5,000 organizations and generated a conservation impact of $6.1 billion. Learn more at

About the Natural Resources Conservation Service
Since 1935, the Natural Resources Conservation Service has helped America’s private landowners and managers conserve their soil, water, and other natural resources. NRCS provides technical assistance based on sound science and offers financial assistance for many conservation activities. Learn more at

About the U.S. Forest Service
The mission of the USDA Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains world-renowned forestry research and wildland fire management organizations. National forests and grasslands contribute more than $30 billion to the American economy annually and support nearly 360,000 jobs. These lands also provide 30 percent of the nation’s surface drinking water to cities and rural communities; approximately 60 million Americans rely on drinking water that originated from the National Forest System. 

About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

About Southern Company
Southern Company (NYSE:SO) is a leading energy company serving 9 million customers through its subsidiaries. The company provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through electric operating companies in three states, natural gas distribution companies in four states, a competitive generation company serving wholesale customers across America, a leading distributed energy infrastructure company, a fiber optics network and telecommunications services. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and affordable prices below the national average. For more than a century, we have been building the future of energy and developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including carbon-free nuclear, advanced carbon capture technologies, natural gas, renewables, energy efficiency and storage technology. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation and a low-carbon future, Southern Company and its subsidiaries develop the customized energy solutions our customers and communities require to drive growth and prosperity. Out uncompromising values ensure we put the needs of those we serve at the center of everything we do and govern our business to the benefit of our world. Our corporate culture and hiring practices have been recognized nationally by the U.S. Department of Defense, G.I. Jobs magazine, DiversityInc, Black Enterprise, Forbes and the Women’s Choice Award. To learn more, visit


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