Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc.

Farley Nuclear Plant

Birmingham, Alabama, United States

Certified Gold through 2022

Project Name
Project Type
Eastern Bluebird
Avian
Cogan Grass
Invasive Species
Feral Hogs
Invasive Species
Gopher Tortoise
Reptiles & Amphibians

About the Program

Southern Nuclear Operating Company Inc.'s Farley Nuclear Plant encompasses 1,850 acres in Houston County, Alabama, just west of the Chattahoochee River. The site is an active nuclear power generation facility. The site is located in a rural wooded area that is bordered by agricultural fields.  The plans and projects to conserve native longleaf pine forests are of extreme importance to local ecosystems and native wildlife. The site currently has conservation goals to manage forests, invasive species, avian species and a vulnerable native tortoise species.

Practices and Impacts

  • Woodland areas of the site are managed to ensure the long-term health of the woodland, enhance existing wildlife habitat and create new habitat where feasible. When possible, upland areas of the site are being replanted in longleaf pine, an important and imperiled native habitat. Existing longleaf pine stands are managed, including with prescribed fire, to enhance their habitat characteristics. A state-certified professional forester surveys the site at least once a year and adjusts the land management plans based on current best practices.
  • The team monitors the on-site gopher tortoise population, an important keystone species. In doing so, they conduct surveys with their partners in the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) and Alabama Power Company (APC). In April 2019, 21 gopher tortoises and 49 burrows were found. The burrows also provide homes for many other species.
  • The team has committed to eradicating two problematic invasive species across the site. Cogongrass, an invasive plant in longleaf pine habitat, is treated with selective application of herbicide in the fall when conditions are optimal and is then monitored for any re-emergence. Using trail cameras and regular site visits, staff also monitor for signs of feral hogs. The team has partnered with USDA Wildlife Services in a hog trapping and elimination program and has implemented a successful bow hunting season for site employees.
  • Thirty bluebird nest boxes were added to the site in 2018 as part of a local Eagle Scout project. The boxes are observed monthly, with observations increasing to once a week during nesting season. In 2019, the majority of boxes fledged bluebird chicks.
  • The team has also opened the site for the release of rehabilitated raptors by the Southeastern Raptor Center at Auburn University. Release events include an educational talk to employees and guests about the life cycle and habitat needs of raptors. So far, one red-tailed hawk has been successfully released at the site, with more releases planned in the near future.

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