University receives grant for project
Published 3:00 am Friday, December 11, 2015
A $5,000 grant from the Choctawhatchee, Pea and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority (CPYRWMA) will help Troy University continue to fight invasive species of plants in the Janice Hawkins Park on the Troy University campus.
Barbara Gibson, Authority executive director; Jack Pelfrey Authority board chair; Alan Boothe and Randy Hale, Pike County board members; presented the check to Troy University officials on Thursday.
“This check represents the continuation of our support of the Janice Hawkins Park,” Gibson said. “We are proud to be able to participate with Troy University in such an important and beneficial project. We commend Chancellor Hawkins for his efforts in addressing this serious threat to wildlife habitat and water quality degradation on the university campus.”
Hawkins expressed appreciation to Gibson and the CPYRWMA board for their support of the park project.
“This is an important and beneficial project,” the Chancellor said. “We are looking forward to the dedication of the park, hopefully in the spring. And, I thank the Authority for its continuing support of the park.”
Mark Salmon, Troy University Physical Plant director, also expressed the university’s gratitude for the support of the CPYRWMA.
“We appreciate the continued support received from the Authority,” Salmon said. “This grant will help us get back in and deal with invasive species of plants. The funding enables the university to perform management and clearing of invasive plants on about 15 acres that, in turn, will preserve the life and encourage growth of native plants.”
Gibson said experts suggest that chemicals released from Chinese privet affect water quality for macro-invertebrates such as crayfish and snails. In addition, the species creates monocultures that reduce tree diversity along riparian zones, sunlight availability and suppress native species that are beneficial to wildlife and a healthy ecosystem.
“The mechanical clearing of the invasive species was a success,” she said. “Not only were Chinese privet and Chinese tallow removed, but many acres of kudzu were mechanically cleared as well.”
Invasive species management is an ongoing activity and requires constant attention and active management procedures. To ensure that the property is maintained, additional chemical treatments will be used as needed on the site, Gibson said.
In addition, stormwater wetland creation and an ecological trail system are being developed as part of the overall project. Workdays and educational classes are on going for the community to teach about the watershed management that Troy University is implementing in the park.
Janice Hawkins Park was developed to provide additional green space on the Troy campus and includes seating areas, walkways surrounded by plants and sculptures and an amphitheater.
Salmon said a future phase of the project will include walking trails.
The CPYRWMA is a state agency created in 1991 by the Alabama Legislature. It is responsible for managing the 2.3 million acres in the watersheds of southeast Alabama in the areas of water quality, water quantity, flood control and prevention and water conservation education.