RC&D grants benefit many

Published 2:45 am Thursday, November 2, 2017

Within in the past two years, Wiregrass Resource Conservation and Development Council has awarded $45,488 to various Covington County projects.

Yesterday, Wiregrass RC&D executive director Ronnie Davis met at Florala High School with Sen. Jimmy Holley, Rep. Mike Jones, and a number of area officials who have benefitted from the monies.

Grant recipients included Covington County Soil and Water Conservation, Florala High School, Wing Community Center, River Falls Volunteer Fire Department, and Rose Hill Fire Department.

Recipients used the money to buy radios to ensure better communication between local law enforcement and fire departments, and improve a community center.

Florala High School used its money to create a whole new environment for their aquaculture program.

“When I inherited the program, there was one major design flaw in the building,” Jennie Ward, the FHS aquaculture and aquaponics teacher said. “The tin roof was really preventing any light from coming through.”

The aquaponics program was severely suffering from the lack of sunlight.

Aquaponics works by pumping water from fish tanks to plants. The bacteria then converts ammonia and nitrate to nitrate, and the plants absorb the water, cleaning it in the process.

That water is then reused and put back in the fish tanks, cleaner than before.

Aquaponics uses a fraction of the water needed in traditional agriculture, with no need to purchase, store or apply fertilizer.

There is no need for weeding, as weeds will not grow.

“The money from the grant gave us the ability to grow fish on another level,” Ward said, “Plant growth has really expanded.”

With the extra monies, Ward was able to purchase extra accessories with the money awarded, as well as landscape in front of the fishery.

“I’m so thankful for the money given, it has definitely improved the program,” Ward said.

Shown are local Soil Conservation officials with RC&D executive director Ronnie Davis, Sen. Jimmy Holley, Rep. Mike Jones, and recipients of this year’s grants.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Windham