Candler Park is home to a wide variety of native plants and animals. A dedicated group of volunteers has helped to build up this natural area through the Candler Park Brook Restoration Project. Funded by a US EPA 319 grant, the restoration project was managed by a coalition of community, environmental and municipal partners.The project removed about 175’ of concrete culvert that had housed the stream since the 1950’s, daylighted another 200’ of underground stream, restored the waterway’s natural meandering shape, and stabilized the streambanks with a combination of large individually-installed rocks surrounded by a variety of native plants. Black willow (Salix niger) was the anchor species. Construction took just over a year in 2006-07.
The project was an immediate success biologically, though plant growth was slow until the decade’s drought broke in 2009. In that year the beavers moved in and began damming the area, creating the first of a series of ponds that today house a huge variety of wetland plant, insect, fish, birds, and mammals.
While beavers have made a significant comeback in the US in the last quarter-century, their long-term residence in Candler Park amidst a hubbub of human activity is a unique and significant restoration success story. They – and their many cohorts in the riparian community – have become popular and well-established parts of the community, and the biological and habitat benefits they bring provide a model worth replicating throughout Atlanta.