Southern Company, Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grant $100,000 to Support National Wildlife Refuge System Centennial

ATLANTA -- Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest energy producers, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation today announced two $50,000 grants in recognition of the Centennial of the National Wildlife Refuge System, started in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt.

The grants will be awarded to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy as part of Southern Company’s partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for an 18-month pilot program called The Power of Flight. Southern Company and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation each contributed $250,000 to the program to be awarded as grants for bird and habitat conservation and environmental education projects in Southern Company’s operating area.

“The Centennial celebrates President Roosevelt’s vision to conserve our nation’s unique and critical habitat,” said Dwight Evans, Southern Company executive vice president of external affairs. “The national refuge system protects nearly 100 million acres for wildlife while providing superior opportunities for hunting, fishing, recreation, wildlife observation and education. These grants will help promote active management of two critical southeastern ecosystems, speed up restoration efforts and improve biodiversity -- something valuable for generations to come.” One grant will go to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge to help restore approximately 500 acres of freshwater wetlands habitats. The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge protects a portion of the tidal freshwater wetlands on the Atlantic Seaboard while serving as the winter home for more than 25 percent of the ducks in South Carolina.

The other grant will be awarded to the Mississippi Chapter of The Nature Conservancy to help restore more than 500 acres of wet pine savanna habitat on the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge and the Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Wet pine savannas provide critical habitat for the endangered Mississippi Sandhill Crane and a host of other birds and wildlife.

“We really appreciate the efforts and support of our partners, the Southern Company, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy. With their help, we will be able to enhance hundreds of acres of wetlands for the benefit of migratory birds and waterfowl,” said Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Their support proves that public and private partnerships do work.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System that encompasses 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies. Visit the Service’s Southeast Region website at For more information, about the Centennial, please visit

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the conservation of fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats by attracting diverse investments, encouraging public and private collaboration, and funding the stewardship of natural resources. The Foundation supports and invests in the best possible solutions for wildlife conservation through creative, diverse, and respectful partnerships. For more information, please visit

With 4 million customers and nearly 37,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier super-regional energy company in the Southeast and a leading U.S. producer of electricity. Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states, a growing competitive generation company, an energy services business and a competitive retail natural gas business, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are 15 percent below the national average. Southern Company has been named No. 1 on Fortune magazine’s 2003 “America’s Most Admired Companies” list in the Electric and Gas Utility industry. Southern Company has more than 500,000 shareholders, making its common stock one of the most widely held in the United States. Visit the Southern Company Web site at