Matching-fund grant protects cypress-tupelo swamp forests along the Nottoway River in Southampton County, VA
Southampton, Va. – Feb. 6, 2017 – The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund (the Fund) today announced the closing of its first easement purchase from the 2016 grant cycle to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The approximately 220-acre easement – known as the Crowder and White tract – is the first of two in Southampton, Virginia, that will be secured with financial assistance from the Fund. When the second easement is completed, a total of 385 acres of floodplain forest dominated by mature cypress-tupelo will be protected.
The land protected through this first award is across the river from another parcel already protected by DCR. Together, the two form “The Narrows,” an important transit point for river herring, shad and alewife – fish species that rely on floodplain forest for spawning and nursery habitat. The Narrows will now be permanently protected. The swamps also provide habitat for a multitude of waterfowl, water birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and other fish.
“The permanent protection of this property with a conservation easement is cause for celebration,” said Carlton Owen, President and CEO of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities which administers the Fund. “Not only is it a valuable property for fish, wildlife and recreation, it is also the first transaction to be completed of the four Enviva Forest Conservation Fund awards made in 2016. It’s the first of many more to come.”
The Fund awarded $500,000 in 2016 to help conserve more than 2,000 acres of environmentally sensitive forests. In addition to DCR, 2016 grant recipients included the Virginia and North Carolina chapters of The Nature Conservancy and the Triangle Land Conservancy of North Carolina.
The Crowder and White tract easement was made possible through combined support from the Fund, donated timber value from the owner, and a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant secured by Ducks Unlimited and supported by several partners, including the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. To learn more about the grant and to view a map of the project tract, visit the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund’s website.
“Conversion to other uses is one of the greatest threats to Virginia forests,” said Clyde Cristman, director of the Virginia DCR. “Our partnership with the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund and Ducks Unlimited builds on the Cypress Bridge Natural Area Preserve, allowing us to conserve another key property along the Nottoway River and protect more ecologic, recreational and scenic resources, helping to build a legacy for future generations in southeast Virginia.”
The conservation easement blends forest land reclamation with conservation of cypress/tupelo swamp forest, one of four specific types of sensitive bottomland forest ecosystems the Fund has targeted for special conservation.
The terms of the conservation easement will eliminate all timber harvesting in the wetlands, as well as any subdivision and development rights. The landowner, a Southampton County local who made this property available and provided a significant contribution toward the easement in the form of donated timber value in a desire to see this section of the Nottoway River permanently protected, will continue to hold hunting and fishing privileges. As the easement holder, Virginia DCR will conduct annual monitoring visits to document easement conditions.
“Conservation easements are irreplaceable in meeting the needs of landowners who wish to protect valuable natural resources,” said Ducks Unlimited Conservation Lands Coordinator Justin Park. “Ducks Unlimited is proud to work with grant partners, VA DCR, private landowners, and the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund to help landowners protect sensitive bottomlands while continuing to enjoy the area for recreation. Such easements provide the best of both worlds – protection of broad benefits to society at large while also affording rights to the landowner.”
“Enviva is very pleased to announce the permanent protection made possible by our very first project under the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund – the Virginia DCR’s Lower Nottoway River Project,” said Jennifer C. Jenkins, Ph.D., Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer at Enviva. “We treasure the forests and communities where we work, and we are absolutely delighted to be a part of this important project.”
The Fund is a $5-million, 10-year program established by Enviva Holdings, LP and administered by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. It is designed to protect tens of thousands of acres of bottomland forests in northeast North Carolina and southeast Virginia. For more information on the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund visit www.envivaforestfund.org. Read more about the Crowder White project at the Voices of Enviva blog.
For 2017, up to $500,000 is available to not-for-profit organizations, government agencies and tribes for the second year of Fund grants to protect bottomland hardwood and other wetland forests in 35 North Carolina and Virginia counties that include approximately 6 million acres of forests of all types. The RFP and additional materials are available on the Endowment’s website and at http://envivaforestfund.org/matching-fund-grants/.
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.
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 plants in the southeastern United States that produce nearly 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 footprint by about 80%. 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.