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Georgia Farm-Owners Receive Private Lands Stewardship Award For Conservation Efforts


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 3, 2003

Contact:
Tom MacKenzie, 404/679-729

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission today presented a Private Lands Stewardship Award to Bob and Susan Woodall, owners of Fort Creek Farm in Hancock County, Georgia. The Woodalls were honored for their conservation efforts during a Georgia Association of Conservation District Supervisors meeting at the Westin Savannah Harbor Resort in Savannah. Their 750-acre farm, started in the 1800's as a cotton plantation, is listed on the State of Georgia's Register of Historical Sites.

"The Woodall's conservation practices serve as a first-rate model for other private landowners who are interested in preserving the natural value of their property," said Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Fort Creek Farm is being managed to ensure water quality and provide the best wildlife habitat possible."

A total of 533 acres of the 750-acre farm are currently being used as wildlife habitat, leaving 162 acres for livestock production. In addition, nearly two miles of fencing has been erected to prevent livestock from entering the farm's streams and creeks. Almost 55 acres of buffers have been created to filter run-off from the pastures. To help accomplish these conservation efforts, the Woodalls obtained $5,000 in funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service provided technical assistance. Recently, the Georgia Association of Conservation District Supervisors also awarded the Woodalls a $5,000 grant to install additional Water Quality "Best Management Practices" on their farm. Educational demonstrations will be conducted on their farm to showcase their conservation efforts.

"We are proud that our farm is home to over 68 different bird species and other wildlife," said Bob Woodhall, who is a retired environmental lawyer from the Georgia Power Company. "Fort Creek Farm has also been farmed continuously since around 1790. My wife, Susan's family inherited it in 1840."

"Our public-private partnership helped us develop a conservation plan that allows us to raise cattle and preserve wildlife," continued Woodhall. "The agencies involved have been extremely helpful and have listened to our ideas. We wanted to maintain the landscape of an older plantation."

"Fort Creek Farm is a great example of how public-private partnerships work to help provide for the stewardship of private lands," said David Bennett, Deputy Director of the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission.

For more information on the Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, please visit the website http://southeast.fws.gov/partners/ or contact Ronnie Haynes, program coordinator, at 404/679-7138. For more information about the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission's programs, please contact David Bennett at telephone number 706/542-3065.

In March 2003, America celebrates the centennial anniversary of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Wildlife Refuge System -- the only system of federal land dedicated specifically to wildlife. When President Theodore Roosevelt made Florida's tiny Pelican Island a refuge for birds in 1903, he launched the legacy of America's greatest conservation success story. As the National Wildlife Refuge System enters its second century, it protects 100 million acres in 540 refuges and thousands of small prairie wetlands, providing unparalleled outdoor activities in wildlife observation, fishing, hunting, environmental education, and photography -- making refuges the premier opportunity to connect with nature.


For Photo and a pdf of the award go to: http://southeast.fws.gov/news/2003/woodall_award


For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
visit our home page at http://southeast.fws.gov/ or http://www.fws.gov/.



NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at http://southeast.fws.gov. Our national home page is at: http://news.fws.gov/newsreleases/.

Atlanta, GA 30345
Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286

   
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