As part of our ongoing commitment to environmental and social sustainability, we recently presented a $15,000 grant to Palatka’s Water Works Environmental Education Center (WWEEC).
Palatka, Florida, is home to one of Georgia-Pacific's pulp and paper mills and the grant will be used to restore a portion of the area to a freshwater wetland with native plants, which hasn't been seen in the community since the 1930s.
Palatka’s historic water works is a nine-acre property, which includes the city’s original water collection and storage system developed in 1886 for household water supply and fire protection.
“We like that this is a volunteer organization working to create something that is valuable to the community,” said Kevin Curry, Palatka Operations acting mill manager.
The first order of business for these grant funds is to engineer a weir (a barrier designed to redirect the water flow of a river or stream) that will effectively prevent the wetlands from becoming re-filled with mud and non-native plants.
Eventually, the volunteer group plans to erect a water wheel between the pond and wetlands area and even add a nature trail for community members to enjoy. A center focused on the historic aspect of water retention for domestic supplies, conservation and the value of protecting wetland sanctuaries will also be created.