FOLEY – Work should start in early 2024 to restore wetlands near the head of Wolf and Sandy creeks following action by the Foley City Council.

The council voted Monday, March 20, to accept a grant of almost $2.79 million from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Leslie Gahagan, Foley environmental director, said officials have been working on plans for the project. The new grant will allow work to start.

“We’ve been in the Phase 1 design for a while now,” she said. “We still have about another six months, but NFWF went ahead and awarded us the Phase 2, which is implementation. We have three projects that we’re gonna be working on. It is 100% funded.”

She said work should start in January after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approves the permits needed for the project.

The project includes work at three sites for stream restoration and stabilization and floodplain and wetland enhancement on the major headwaters of Wolf and Sandy Creeks. In the second phase, the project will include construction and stabilization work on the streams as well as monitoring the area after the restoration is complete.

The project also includes removing invasive plants on a stream flowing into Wolf Creek near OWA. Other efforts include bank stabilization on Wolf Creek near Hillside Drive and stream restoration on Sandy Creek north of U.S. 98.

The restoration is intended to reduce pollutant and stormwater impacts to Wolf Bay, which is classified as an Outstanding Alabama Water, according to city reports.. 

The Wolf Bay Watershed Management Plan identified the project as a priority. 

Foley Mayor Ralph Hellmich said NFWF grants have worked well for Foley environmental projects in the past.

This is the same funding mechanism that Leslie used to do the Bon Secour headwaters project,” Hellmich said. “That was about a $7 million project. This one is similar in scope, but it’s not as large but it’s the same funding mechanism. It’s going to be a real asset to the work on the Wolf Creek headwaters,”