Candler Park gets Audubon grant to restore bird habitat

Intowners on a bird walk in Candler Park.

Atlanta Audubon has awarded a Habitat Restoration Fund Grant to Candler Park Conservancy for a habitat restoration project in Candler Park.

The grant, made possible through the generosity of a private donor, will support work to restore a bird-friendly wetland habitat along the riparian corridor in the north-central portion of the park.

Since a successful stream restoration project in 2006-2007, Candler Park’s riparian corridor has evolved into a thriving urban wetland ecosystem hosting a range of native flora, birds, and other wildlife. According to eBird, a real-time, online checklist program, 95 different bird species have been recently spotted in the park. However, the park’s riparian corridor is currently overgrown throughout its quarter-mile length with invasive and exotic plant species like porcelain berry, privet, and Japanese Chaff Flower.

Through the habitat restoration grant, Atlanta Audubon will fund the professional removal of these invasive and exotic plants, and installation of bird-friendly, site-appropriate, native plants. This work will be performed in cooperation with Candler Park Conservancy, the City of Atlanta, and other stakeholders.

Atlanta Audubon and Candler Park Conservancy may also explore other opportunities enabled by the habitat restoration project like bird species abundance monitoring, community outreach programs, and Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary Certification.

“Atlanta Audubon is eager to work with Candler Park Conservancy to restore Candler Park’s riparian corridor and to replace invasive plants with native plants that benefit birds and other wildlife,” says Nikki Belmonte, Atlanta Audubon Executive Director. “This project demonstrates how parks can be urban refuges for wildlife while still serving multiple recreational uses for people.”

“We are so grateful for this generous grant to improve Candler Park,” says Perry Smith, a Candler Park Conservancy board member involved in the project. “Candler Park offers a great range of recreational uses, but it also serves complementary roles as a locally significant green space, watershed, and natural habitat. The park’s riparian corridor in particular has become an important urban habitat for birds and other species. We are excited to work with Atlanta Audubon and other stakeholders to make this part of the park more resilient, sustainable, and ecologically sound.”

Located on McLendon Avenue, Candler Park encompasses 55-acres of greenspace, including a public golf course and a range of other recreational amenities. The park was

donated to the city in 1922 by Coca-Cola magnate Asa Candler. Candler Park Conservancy was formed in 2015 to protect and improve the park.

To learn more about applying for the Atlanta Audubon Habitat Restoration Fund Grant, visit atlantaaudubon.org/habitat-restoration-fund.

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