A red-headed woodpecker. One of the variety of birds that inhabit the McDaniel Branch Wetlands. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
The McDaniel Branch Wetlands in southwest Atlanta has officially been designated a Certified Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary by the Atlanta Audubon Society. The program encourages both private and public property to enhance their land for animals by growing native plants and providing food, water and shelter.
Red-headed woodpeckers, green herons, common yellowthroats and red-shouldered hawks have all been seen in the Wetlands, according to city materials. Additionally, a variety of native plant species, trees and shrubs have been planted by the Office of Watershed Protection in hopes of attracting even more diverse wildlife.
The McDaniel Branch Wetlands is the first of three locations that will be certified as Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuaries. The other two, Lionel Hampton-Beecher Hills Nature Preserve and Herbert Greene Nature Preserve, are working to complete the certification process, according to Atlanta Audubon Society materials.
“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,” Atlanta Department of Watershed Management Deputy Commissioner Todd Hill said in a statement. “Our collaboration with the Atlanta Audubon Society will ensure the McDaniel Branch Wetlands will be experienced by a broader audience of Atlanta residents, students and visitors alike.”
The Atlanta Department of Watershed Management acquired the McDaniel Branch Wetlands project as part of the city’s Greenway Acquisition, according to program materials. The ponds and marshes located there were constructed in 2015 through a partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“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,” Melinda Langston, board member of the Atlanta Audubon Society, said in a statement. “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.