GREENVILLE, S.C. and BETHESDA, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund (the Fund) today announced the recipients of its 2022 grants. The projects funded this year will help conserve more than 3,000 acres and protect ecologically sensitive bottomland hardwood forests in the Virginia-North Carolina coastal plains.
Including those announced today, the Fund has awarded 29 projects totaling more than $3,100,000 in grants over the past seven years. An estimated 33,000 acres will be protected when these projects reach completion. The forests conserved as a part of the Fund help clean drinking water, purify the air, buffer structures from storms, and provide habitat for many species of wildlife, while at the same time, providing jobs and economic opportunity for rural families and private landowners.
“The fund is well on its way to achieving its initial goal to protect over 35,000 acres of sensitive bottomland hardwood forests across Virginia and South Carolina,” said Thomas Meth, President of Enviva. “With more than three years left in the program, the Fund is poised to partner with more and more diverse conservation groups as well as supersede our commitment to long-term investments in forest stewardship for generations to come.”
The 2022 Enviva Forest Conservation Fund grant recipients include:
The Tar River Land Conservancy: Tar River Land Conservancy aims to purchase the Bowers Tract, consisting of 244 forested acres and 60 acres of agricultural upland fields. Fifty-four percent (219 acres) of the property is situated within the 100-year-old floodplain of Swift Creek, a major tributary of the Tar River. Adjoining the property, Swift Creek provides a habitat for numerous rare, threatened, and endangered aquatic species, including the federally protected Carolina Madtom, Tar River Spiny Mussel, and Neuse River Waterdog.
Three Rivers Land Conservancy: Three Rivers Land Conservancy aims to acquire 440 acres of bottomland hardwood forest adjacent to the Little River and Uwharrie National Forest in Montgomery County, North Carolina. The Little River Buffer and Cliffs natural areas are located on the property. Federally endangered Northern Long Eared Bat and the threatened Oak Toad, Alewife, and Blue Back Herring are all present within this forest acreage.
The Virginia Outdoors Foundation: The Virginia Outdoors Foundation aims to acquire the Turner Tract which lies on the state scenic Nottoway River near Cary's Bridge. This tract contains 134 acres of bottomland hardwoods (111 acres of general hardwoods and 23 acres of Cypress-Tupelo) which will be designated as "old growth" as well as hundreds of acres of working forest. This land contributes to the protected corridor on the Nottoway River and its conservation will support the effort to protect this unique and fragile Virginia resource with a “National Wild and Scenic River” designation. The balance of the tract will remain in working forest and/or agricultural use.
The Conservation Fund: The Conservation Fund will protect 1,915 acres dominated by native bottomland hardwoods, forested wetlands, and loblolly pine along the Nottoway River in Sussex County, Virginia. This project will add to the corridor of protected land along the Nottoway River with 3.5 miles of frontage along the Nottoway where federally endangered Roanoke Logperch and Dwarf Wedge Mussel are found. The property also features 2.5 miles of frontage on Black Branch Swamp, where over 220 acres of forested wetlands and 400 acres of bottomland hardwoods reside. Sustainable forest management and restoration to native longleaf pine and pine savanna on the property will help create a habitat for endangered species such as the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker. Once transferred to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, the property will be open for hunting, hiking, fishing, boating, and wildlife watching.
Ducks Unlimited: Ducks Unlimited aims to acquire a total of 292 acres in Bertie and Gates counties in North Carolina, under two separate tracts - the Crawford Tract and the Gasking Swamp Tract. The Crawford Tract is home to the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker and will expand the adjacent (on 3 sides) Chowan Swamp Game Land, which is located in one of the most important river basins for anadromous fishes in North Carolina. The Gasking Swamp Tract will expand the adjacent Bertie County Game Land, which helps protect portions of the Cashie River Swamps’ small creeks, floodplain wetlands, and Significant Natural Heritage Areas. These tracts provide important travel corridors for black bears along the Cashie River and are recognized as a “Global Important Bird Area.”
“The Endowment continues to support the efforts of the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund. These long-term investments promote conservation, biological diversity, and ecosystem sustainability in these areas of North Carolina and Virginia,” said Teal Edelen, Program Officer at the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. “These grants support sources of clean air and water, protect threatened wildlife and plant life, and provide great opportunities for recreation in these areas.”
About the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund
The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund is a $5 million, 10-year program established by Enviva in December 2015 to protect environmentally sensitive bottomland and wetland forests. Administered by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the Fund awards grants annually to nonprofit organizations and government agencies for conservation projects. Learn more at http://envivaforestfund.org.
About the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities is a not-for-profit public charity working collaboratively with partners in the public and private sectors to advance systemic, transformative, and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation’s working forests and forest-reliant communities. To learn more about the Endowment, please visit our website at www.usendowment.org.