1/7/2016
AEP SWEPCO's Flint Creek Power Plant wins WHC Pollinator Advocate Award

AEP Southwestern Electric Power Co.’s Flint Creek Power Plant has received a 2015 Pollinator Advocate Award from the Wildlife Habitat Council.

The award was presented at the recent WHC Conservation Conference, in cooperation with the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign. Pollinators include bees, birds, bats and other insects and animals that spread pollen so plant fertilization can occur.

During the conference, Flint Creek also was recognized for recertification under WHC’s Corporate Lands for Learning program. Flint Creek has held certification under the program since 2004 and under WHC’s Wildlife at Work program since 2002. The two programs are being combined into WHC’s new Conservation Certification, and Flint Creek will be certified from 2016 through 2018.

The Pollinator Advocate Award acknowledges the work of Flint Creek employees and community volunteers. The efforts are led by retired Flint Creek chemist Terry Stanfill, who supervises the Flint Creek Eagle Watch Nature Trail. Stanfill has maintained and championed an environmental education and stewardship program at the Gentry, Ark., power plant for many years.

The Eagle Watch Nature Trail includes a large butterfly garden built by Gentry Middle School students. This garden is planted with host and nectar plants for pollinators. It includes flowers, such as purple coneflower, butterfly milkweed, prairie gayfeather, black-eyed Susan and wild bergamot, which support butterflies and other pollinators. The garden is maintained by power plant employees, with help from the Bloomfield 4-H Club and Outdoors Adventure 4-H Club. Paw Paw trees along the nearby nature trail are host plants for the seldom seen Zebra Swallowtail butterfly.

The Eagle Watch site also features a two-acre tallgrass prairie restoration project. The area was tilled and planted with native grasses, which are burned almost every year in late winter by the Gentry Fire Department to help control invasive species and expose the soil for new growth.

The site includes approximately five acres of hardwood forest, bordering the plant’s 500-acre cooling lake. Dead trees that stand in the water near the lake shore attract American bald eagles, wood ducks and woodpeckers.

An ongoing project at the site is the restoration of swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnate), a critical host plant for the Monarch butterfly, whose numbers have declined in recent years. Last fall, one pound of milkweed seeds were collected and planted at the Eagle Watch site and other areas of the Flint Creek property.

Flint Creek is a 528-megawatt coal-fueled power plant serving base load electricity needs of co-owners AEP SWEPCO and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC). SWEPCO operates the plant.

The 65-acre Eagle Watch Nature Trail includes a half-mile walking trail and a wildlife viewing pavilion. It is used by numerous schools, youth groups, conservation organizations and the general public. Built in 1999 on SWEPCO Lake, the power plant’s cooling reservoir, Eagle Watch is located on Hwy. 12 one mile east of Gentry. It is open to the public at no charge year-round.

More information is available at www.swepco.com/environment/EagleWatch and www.facebook.com/SWEPCOEagleWatch

About SWEPCO:
SWEPCO serves more than 527,000 customers in western Arkansas, northwest and central Louisiana, northeast Texas and the Texas Panhandle. SWEPCO’s headquarters are in Shreveport, La. News releases and other information about SWEPCO can be found at www.swepco.com. SWEPCO is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states.

 

Peter Main, SWEPCO Corporate Communications
(479) 973-2526
phmain@aep.com