LLA Awarded Two Grants for Conservation Work in the GCPEP Landscape

LLA Awarded Two Grants for Conservation Work in the GCPEP Landscape

By Vernon Compton and Karen Zilliox, The Longleaf Alliance

The Gulf Coastal Plain Ecosystem Partnership (GCPEP) is pleased to have been awarded two grants that will further longleaf pine ecosystem restoration goals in the GCPEP landscape.  A National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Longleaf Stewardship Fund grant titled “Increasing Longleaf Restoration and Management on Public and Private Lands in the GCPEP Landscape” in the amount of $325,000.00 was awarded for multiple priority conservation projects.  The grant will support 24,206 acres of prescribed fire, 245 acres of invasive species control, 589 acres of mid-story and over-story treatments, 10 acres of native understory establishment, and two Longleaf Academies and one Longleaf Field Day.  The grant will also provide for planting of 730 acres of longleaf pine and for habitat improvement projects that will benefit both the reticulated salamander and the red-cockaded woodpecker.  In addition, partners will increase private landowner outreach, education, and technical assistance.  The GCPEP partners are very appreciative of the funding provided through the Longleaf Stewardship Fund and the public and private partners who support it, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southern Company, International Paper’s Forestlands Stewards initiative, and Altria Group.

The LLA also received a Florida State Wildlife Grant of $46,670.00 titled “Increasing Prescribed Fire and other Treatments in a Significant Landscape for the Conservation of the Longleaf Ecosystem in Florida” as announced by Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative.  The projects will help achieve important conservation goals identified in the State Wildlife Action Plan.  The GCPEP project objective is to increase the quality and quantity of habitat for priority wildlife species on 9,542 total acres of natural pineland and sandhills in the GCPEP landscape through the use of the Ecosystem Support Team (EST) and through the EST’s facilitation of cooperative partnership burns on priority sites within the landscape.  9,000 acres will be burned on GCPEP partner lands.  542 acres of additional treatments consisting of invasive species control (200 acres) and mechanical treatments (342 acres) will occur in the same habitat type.  The GCPEP partners thank Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for providing the funding that makes this work possible.

Image 1: Longleaf forest after a growing season fire at Blackwater River State Forest.  Photo by Vernon Compton.