Wigginton works for the Westervelt Ecological Services, a division of the Westervelt timber company that owns 400,000 acres across Alabama, including this 3,000-acre pine plantation along Tallatchee. Westervelt, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, placed 335 federally threatened orangenacre muckets — mussels — into the creek with hopes of revitalizing a near-extinct species.
So far, the conservation efforts look promising. The service credits Westervelt, in particular, for its role in conserving at-risk species and habitats. The Tuscaloosa-based company, through its ecological services business, buffers streams, restores creek beds, educates contractors on environmental precautions and runs for-profit mitigation banks to conserve large swaths of land.