PEP’s 200+ members are concerned businesses, non-profits and organizations – both large and small – who share the common purpose of promoting economic prosperity and environmental sustainability in the area. Recently three of PEP’s member companies worked to preserve wildlife habitat and natural resources in their own ‘backyards.’
Alabama Power Plant Berry’s Environmental Stewardship Team (BEST)
partnered with wildlife biologists from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to identify a species near their plant location they could help to restore habitat. Wood ducks nest in cavities in mature trees. The availability of nesting sites has historically limited wood duck breeding in Alabama. The Alabama Power Plant Berry BEST team constructed and installed twenty wood duck boxes for the wood ducks to lay eggs and raise their young. The team installed the boxes in the Upper Delta Wildlife Management Area, a forested floodplain adjacent to the Alabama River.
“Wood duck boxes are a long-term commitment,” said Whitney Corgill, chemical technician at Plant Barry chair of the Environmental Stewardship Team. The team plans to continue partnering with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to clean and maintain the boxes and collect data on egg hatching.
A few years ago, BASF introduced the Living Acres Monarch Challenge as the company’s first major sustainability initiative in North America. With monarch butterfly populations in sharp decline due to habitat loss and other factors, the company focused on empowering growers to plant milkweed, a critical plant for larval development, alongside cropland, on golf courses, etc. Employees at BASF’s McIntosh facility built an 850 square-foot pollinator garden and outdoor classroom to education employees and school children as to the importance of pollinator conservation.
The garden was conceived of and built by employees at the McIntosh facility, who continue to maintain the plantings. “This is truly an employee effort,” said LaShaunda Holly, communications manager at the McIntosh facility, add that the garden has been a source of healing during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Being in touch with nature, getting your hands in God’s great earth helps take your mind away from other things.”
Construction runoff can often lead to problems for our Gulf Coast waterways. Not long ago, a degraded section of Tiawasee Creek in the Lake Forest subdivision of Daphne was dumping an estimated 1,000 tons of sediment per year into downstream bodies of water, impacting water quality in D’Olive Bay and Mobile Bay. The problem was compounded when excess water flow during subtropical storm Barry cause an existing drainage ditch to fail. Erosion exposed sections of aging terra cotta sewer lines running along Tiawasee Creek, which posed further risk of sewage spills.
To combat this problem, Volkert, Inc. partnered with Strealine Environmental, the City of Daphne, almost two dozen homeowners, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program and numerous environmental agencies to restore a 700-foot section of Tiawasee Creek. Volkert oversaw the two-phase project, and community input led to some creative adjustments, from incorporating more flowering plant species to fostering the sound of falling water along key sections of the creek.
While he project is still in the two-year monitoring stage, visual assessments not a tremendous reduction in turbidity. The project is expected to substantially reduce sediment entering Mobile Bay each year.