RC&D projects prevelant in county

Published 12:04 am Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Students at Straughn work on planting in the tunnel house last fall. |  File photo

Students at Straughn work on planting in the tunnel house last fall. |
File photo

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been poured into small projects across the county in recent years thanks to a collaborative effort among the Covington County Soil and Water Conservation, NRCS, the county commission and Wiregrass RC&D.

Projects have been funded through small seed grants through Wiregrass RC&D.

Soil and Water Education Specialist Patricia Gable, who has worked with different organizations on many of the projects and serves on the RC&D local committee, said that while there isn’t an official total of the amount that has been awarded, each grant totals between $2,000 and $8,000.

“Grants through Wiregrass RC&D have acted as seed money, matching funds and as support for community agencies in enhancing or creating needed activities and facilities throughout Covington County,” she said. “Many areas that you pass through in our county every day have benefited from small RC&D grant funds.”

Gable said the projects include groundwater festivals, a youth environmental day camp, donated supplies to schools, assisted with initial funds for the AES arboretum, greenhouses and tunnel house at Straughn, sending students to the envirothon.

Additionally, improvements have been made to the Lockhart Longleaf Memorial Park, assisting with erosion issues at Pleasant Home, Red Level, Fleeta Jr. High, Straughn High School and a walking trail at the McArthur Campus of LBWCC.

“During this period funds have were also used to support the Point A boat dock, a Pavilion at the Carver Community Center, the LBW Nature Trail improvements, resurfacing the Straughn elementary playground, improving parking at the Opp softball field area, improving drainage at Point A Lake, creating a bioretention pond demonstration at the LBWC-Opp Campus, assisting with the Frank Jackson State Park Nature Trail, assisting with the remodel for the Andalusia Farmers Market,” Gable said. “We assisted with funds to create the outdoor observation deck and pavilion of the Chief Williams Law Enforcement Training Facility, improvements at the Opp Farmer’s Co-Op Market, improvements for the Rose Hill Community Center, the Red Level Multipurpose Facility on their ball fields, the River Falls Town Park on this year funds went to enable Florala High School to adapt their fisheries facility creating a greenhouse and materials for aquaculture.”

Gable said these community improvements are a wonderful example of what small funding sources, community-collaborative partnerships and volunteer labor can accomplish.

“You can look by driving around our county and see the impact,” she said.

The Wiregrass RC&D council serves 10 Southeast Alabama counties, including Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Pike and Russell.

The service to these 10 counties focuses on land conservation and management, water management, community development and innovation.

Grant applications are available on the Wiregrass RC&D website, http://www.wiregrassrcd.com.

Two types of grants are available – education and general.