Enviva Forest Conservation Fund Announces 2016 North Carolina Conservation Grants
$5 Million Fund to Protect Sensitive Forestland near Raleigh, Roanoke River Floodplain
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 northeast North Carolina and southeast Virginia, 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 leading North Carolina environmental organizations, The Nature Conservancy North Carolina Chapter and Triangle Land Conservancy of Raleigh, 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 conservation and preservation programs that span more than 2,000 acres of environmentally sensitive bottomland and wetland forests in North Carolina and Virginia.
The North Carolina recipients of the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund’s 2016 grants are:
- The Nature Conservancy North Carolina Chapter, to assist with acquisition of 1,294 acres of forested wetland in the floodplain of the Roanoke River, Washington County. The property will be protected as part of The Nature Conservancy’s Roanoke River Preserve and includes extensive stands of cypress-tupelo and Atlantic white cedar forests; and
- The Triangle Land Conservancy, to help finance purchase of a permanent conservation easement on 127 acres of bottomland hardwood forest, uplands and lake area near Raleigh. The lake and wetlands on the property help filter water flowing into the Neuse River, the drinking water source for the Town of Clayton and Johnston County.
The Fund also awarded 2016 grants to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and The Nature Conservancy Virginia Chapter. Additional details about the specific projects will be released as negotiations are finalized and contractual agreements are closed. The Triangle Land Conservancy project is expected to close this summer and The Nature Conservancy North Carolina Chapter project is expected to close this fall.
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.”
“Conserving forests in the Raleigh area is important. In doing so, we will maintain open space, protect wildlife habitats and filter the region’s drinking water,” said Sandy Sweitzer, Executive Director of the Triangle Land Conservancy. “With the generous support of the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund, Triangle Land Conservancy will be able to permanently protect priority lands identified for both the Neuse River Corridor Plan and the Capital Area Greenway Plan. We are excited by the opportunity to leverage our efforts and resources with support from the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund to further protect forested ecosystems in the Raleigh area, one of the fastest growing regions in the South.”
“The Nature Conservancy’s Roanoke River Project began in 1982 to help conserve important forested wetlands in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina and Virginia. Since then, we and our partners have helped protect more than 94,000 acres of conservation land in the Lower Roanoke River,” said Katherine D. Skinner, Executive Director of the North Carolina Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. “The Conservancy engages river communities to promote sustainable and compatible uses in this area, such as publicly-accessible camping platforms. Support from the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund will help the Conservancy add important new lands to the Roanoke River Project with large expanses of cypress-tupelo swamps and stands of Atlantic white cedar.”
The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund focuses on about 35 North Carolina and Virginia 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 North Carolina to grow and protect forests for our families and future generations, while providing economic opportunities in the areas where Enviva does business.”
Enviva, which began operations in North Carolina in 2011, currently owns and operates pellet plants in Ahoskie and Northampton County, near Roanoke Rapids. Two new North Carolina projects – an export terminal at the Port of Wilmington and a Sampson County pellet production plant – are under construction and expected to begin operations this summer. When its Wilmington-area facilities come online, Enviva will be responsible for about 800 North Carolina jobs.
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.