McDaniel Branch Wetlands in southwest Atlanta has been certified as an Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary. CONTRIBUTED

Atlanta wetlands certified wildlife sanctuary

The city of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management’s McDaniel Branch Wetlands has been officially designated a Certified Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary by the Atlanta Audubon Society, according to a press release. The McDaniel Branch Wetlands is the first of three DWM Greenway properties to earn this designation. The Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary program encourages both private and public properties to enhance their land for birds and other wildlife by installing native plants and providing food, water and shelter.

“The designation of the McDaniel Branch Wetlands as an Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary underscores the City of Atlanta’s commitment to implementing innovative stormwater solutions while preserving and protecting native ecosystems through green infrastructure,” said DWM Deputy Commissioner Todd Hill.

Red-headed woodpeckers, green herons, common yellowthroats and red-shouldered hawks have all been sighted in the Wetlands. Additionally, a variety of native plant species, trees and shrubs have been planted by the Office of Watershed Protection which will attract a diversity of wildlife.

“Atlanta Audubon is thrilled to partner with the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management to add McDaniel Branch and other wetland areas to our network of more than 450 certified wildlife habitats in Atlanta and north Georgia,” says Melinda Langston, Board Member and Wildlife Sanctuary Program, Atlanta Audubon Society. “The welfare of birds and other wildlife is directly linked to the quality of food and shelter available to them. The plantings used in the McDaniel Branch not only help hold the stream banks in place and improve water quality, but they also create valuable habitat for birds and other wildlife.

The ponds and wetlands project were constructed in 2015 through a partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers. In addition, DWM completed an adjacent stream restoration project with the help of a grant from US EPA. DWM acquired the McDaniel Branch Wetlands project as part of the Greenway Acquisition. This project was undertaken in connection with the settlement of an enforcement action taken jointly by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Fund, Inc., the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Inc. and W. Robert Hancock, Jr., for violations of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and the Georgia Water Quality Control Act.

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