Flint Creek Power Plant in Gentry, Ark., has been awarded Conservation Certification by the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) in recognition of the plant’s commitment to environmental stewardship.
American Electric Power received the certification for its SWEPCO power plant’s habitat enhancement programs, including tallgrass prairie restoration, nesting boxes and other bird habitat improvement, and pollinator garden landscapes.
“The Flint Creek Power Plant is recognized as meeting the strict requirements of WHC Conservation Certification,” said Margaret O’Gorman, WHC president. “Companies achieving WHC Conservation Certification, like AEP SWEPCO, are environmental leaders, voluntarily managing their lands to support sustainable ecosystems and the communities that surround them.”
Flint Creek was designated as Certified Silver, signifying leadership among the over 700 WHC Conservation Certification programs. Programs are given a Certified, Silver Certified or Gold Certified designation. Flint Creek has held certification under the WHC’s Corporate Lands for Learning and Wildlife at Work programs since 2004 and 2002, respectively, and since 2016 when the two programs were combined into the Conservation Certification.
“We are extremely proud of the long-standing environmental stewardship efforts by our team at Flint Creek, as well as the community partnerships that have grown up around that stewardship,” said Malcolm Smoak, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer.
Flint Creek Plant Manager Carl Handley said, “We’re pleased that the Wildlife Habitat Council has again recognized our company and employees for their work to enhance the environment and provide great learning opportunities for the community. Retired Flint Creek chemist Terry Stanfill has continued to spearhead many of our efforts.”
Approximately 700 acres of the power plant’s 1,600 acres are designated as wildlife habitat. The site for many activities is Flint Creek’s 65-acre Eagle Watch Nature Trail, which includes a half-mile walking trail and two wildlife viewing pavilions. 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.
Although wintering bald eagles are the main attraction at Eagle Watch, more than 180 bird species have been identified. Mammals in the area include foxes, deer and beaver. Reptiles and amphibians include various species of lizards, turtles, snakes, toads and frogs. The pavilions include plant and animal identification displays.
Flint Creek is a 516-megawatt coal-fueled power plant serving co-owners AEP SWEPCO and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC). SWEPCO operates the plant.
Wildlife Habitat Council promotes and certifies habitat conservation and management on corporate lands through partnerships and education. WHC Conservation Certification programs take corporate sustainability goals and objectives and translate them into tangible and measurable on-the-ground actions. Through a focus on building collaboration for conservation with corporate employees, other conservation organizations, government agencies and community members, WHC programs focus on healthy ecosystems and connected communities. WHC-assisted wildlife habitat and conservation education programs are found in 47 states, the District of Columbia and 22 countries. http://www.wildlifehc.org.
Photos courtesy of Terry Stanfill