The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded a two-year grant to the State Botanical Garden to restore native plant species diversity to degraded floodplain habitat along the Middle Oconee River.
“This grant is so much more than habitat restoration for five acres of forest,” said Jim Affolter, director of research and conservation at the botanical garden. “UGA undergraduate students will assist in clearing invasive Chinese privet, survey the vegetation, plant native species and monitor the change. This process will be used to generate a set of recommendations for floodplain restoration for landowners and land managers who wish to address the habitat devastation caused by Chinese privet.”
At the same time, abandoned greenhouses and support buildings will be upgraded to create growing facilities for native plant species. These plants will be used to re-establish the project habitat and enhance the diversity of the garden’s native plant collection. Plants grown in this facility will help support the program with plant sales and growing contracts for restoration projects. Another result of this grant will be the creation of a teaching environment for native plants, providing hands-on experience with native species.