$5 Million Fund to Protect Sensitive Forestland along Meherrin and Nottoway Rivers
Bethesda, Md. and Greenville, S.C. (May 26, 2016) – The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund (the “Fund”), a $5 million, 10-year program designed to protect tens of thousands of acres of bottomland forests in southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina, today announced the recipients of its 2016 grants.
“Enviva has always believed there are special places in the forest that should remain so,” said John Keppler, Chairman and CEO of Enviva. “This year’s inaugural grants from the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund enable two of Virginia’s leading conservation organizations, The Nature Conservancy Virginia Chapter and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, to protect those special places through forest stewardship, conservation, preservation and the promotion of sustainable harvesting.”
The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund, established by Enviva Holdings, LP (“Enviva”), and administered by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the “Endowment”), is awarding $500,000 in 2016 to fund preservation and conservation programs that span more than 2,000 acres of environmentally sensitive bottomland and wetland forests in Virginia and North Carolina.
The Virginia recipients of the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund’s 2016 grant are:
- The Nature Conservancy Virginia Chapter, to finance a conservation easement on a 408-acre floodplain tract along the Meherrin River in Southampton County. This project blends working forest uses with limited harvest designations to maintain the health of floodplain forests; and
- The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, to assist the acquisition of 385 acres of hardwood bottomland, cypress-tupelo swamps and 2.6 miles of frontage along the State Scenic Nottoway River in Southampton County. Conserving this land will provide water quality enhancement and flood storage capacity, and support a myriad of threatened and endangered flora and fauna.
The Fund also awarded 2016 grants to The Nature Conservancy North Carolina Chapter and Triangle Land Conservancy of North Carolina. Additional details about the specific projects being funded will be released as negotiations are finalized and contractual agreements are closed. The Nature Conservancy Virginia Chapter’s project is expected to close in winter, 2016 and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation project is expected to close in spring, 2017.
The grant recipients were selected from a pool of high-quality applications submitted by local, state and national conservation organizations committed to protecting forests and environmentally sensitive areas in the Virginia-North Carolina coastal plain, an area that is home to three wood pellet production facilities and a deep-water marine terminal owned by Enviva. Applications were evaluated by the Endowment based on a number of factors, including the ecological quality of the property, potential threats to the property’s integrity, its associated conservation values and links to other conservation areas.
“The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund aims to be a catalyst that will attract other conservation investments to the region, particularly to the bottomlands of the Albemarle Sound drainage basin along the Roanoke, Chowan, Meherrin, Nottoway and Blackwater rivers,” said Carlton N. Owen, president and CEO of the Endowment. “We received applications from best-in-class conservation organizations and are excited about the environmental and economic benefits our first round of grants will provide for communities throughout North Carolina and Virginia.”
“In advancing our mission to conserve the Commonwealth’s unique natural and cultural resources, we’ve successfully protected 63 Natural Area Preserves (NAP) totaling nearly 56,000 acres across the state,” said Clyde Cristman, Director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. “Our partnership with the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund will allow us to conserve another key property along the State Scenic Nottoway River, protecting more ecologic and scenic resources, and helping to build a legacy for future generations in southeast Virginia.”
“The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund’s grant will help ensure Virginia’s forests continue to harbor wildlife, support recreation and forestry, and clean the air we breathe and the water we drink,” said Michael Lipford, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy Virginia Chapter. “The Nature Conservancy is pleased by Enviva’s commitment to conserve sensitive areas that help maintain the health, condition and sustainability of floodplain forests in southeast Virginia.”
The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund focuses on about 35 Virginia and North Carolina counties that include approximately 6 million acres of forests of all types. Of this total, about 20 percent are bottomland forests – low-lying, marshy areas near rivers and streams that are home to tree species such as cypress, gum and oak. Most of this is working forestland where harvest is recommended. Although less than 15 percent of Enviva’s wood supply in the region comes from bottomland forests, the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund targets sensitive bottomland areas because they offer a wide range of environmental and economic benefits. Many of them also face the threat of conversion to other uses.
“The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund grew out of Enviva’s commitment to keeping America’s working forests healthy,” said Keppler. “We are pleased to be working with conservation organizations in Virginia to grow and protect forests for our families and future generations, while providing economic opportunities in the areas where Enviva does business.”
Enviva employs more than 100 Virginians at its Southampton pellet plant and export terminal at the Port of Chesapeake. Enviva’s footprint in Southampton County and the Port of Chesapeake and nearby N.C. operations account for more than $200 million in annual economic activity in Virginia.
For more information on the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund visit www.envivaforestfund.org.
About Enviva Holdings, LP
Enviva Holdings, LP is the world’s largest producer of wood pellets, a renewable and sustainable energy source used to generate electricity and heat. Through its subsidiaries, Enviva Holdings, LP owns and operates six plants in the southeastern United States that produce about 2.3 million metric tons of wood pellets annually. We export our pellets primarily to power plants in the United Kingdom and Europe that previously were fueled by coal, enabling them to reduce their lifetime carbon emissions by about 80 percent. We make our pellets using sustainable practices that protect Southern forests. And we employ about 600 people and support many other businesses in the rural South, where jobs and economic opportunity are sometimes scarce.
Enviva Holdings, LP conducts its activities primarily through two entities: Enviva Partners, LP, a publicly-traded master limited partnership (NYSE: EVA), and Enviva Development Holdings, LLC, a wholly-owned private company.
To learn more about Enviva Holdings, LP and its subsidiaries, please visit our website at www.envivabiomass.com.
About The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities
The Endowment is a not-for-profit corporation established in 2006 at the request of the governments of the United States and Canada. The Endowment works 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.