U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Greenville, SC
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE (June 29, 2021)
Greenville, SC and Bethesda, MD – The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund (the Fund) today announced the recipients of its 2021 grants. The projects funded will help conserve more than 4,000 acres and protect ecologically sensitive bottomland forests in the coastal regions of Virginia and North Carolina.
Including those announced today, the Fund has awarded 24 projects totaling more than $2,600,000 in grants over the past six years. An estimated 31,000 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.
“We are proud to partner with several prominent conservation groups in this grant cycle, helping to promote responsible forest conservation by building climate resilience while preserving precious habitats and protecting natural heritage,” said Dr. Jennifer Jenkins, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer of Enviva.
The 2021 Enviva Forest Conservation Fund grant recipients include:
The City of Franklin, VA in partnership with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF): A permanent conservation easement will be placed on one tract of 140 acres of bottomland hardwood forests in the City of Franklin, Virginia. The property is part of a natural land network which sits at the intersection of two important Natural Heritage sites, the Blackwater River Main Stem Conservation site and the Antioch Swamp Stream Conservation unit, supporting several rare species and significant natural communities including anadromous fish and colonial water birds. Over 200 acres of river frontage will be conserved for the development of a public city park and natural area (dubbed the Blackwater Park) including the creation of picnic areas, and a trailhead on the Blue Water Trail that terminates at the River Walk Park in downtown Franklin.
North Carolina Coastal Land Trust (NCCLT): More than 1,600 acres of floodplain wetlands and important natural areas wetlands will be conserved along the Chowan River and Keel Creek, a tributary, in Bertie and Hertford Counties, North Carolina, and along Hoggard’s Mill Run, a tributary of the Cashie River, also in Bertie County, through acquisitions by NCCLT.
The “Chowan-Cashie Wetlands Conservation Partnership” project represents a unique community conservation partnership as it will not only result in the long-term protection of forested wetlands but will also create additional state-owned public game lands for the local community and a new public nature/historic park.
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC): This project involves the purchase of two wetland properties totaling 568 acres in Pender and Bladen Counties, North Carolina. The land includes areas rated as exceptional for conservation and deemed to have a very high ecological significance by the N.C. Natural Heritage Program (NCNHP).
This work is part of an ongoing and larger regional land and water conservation effort that will significantly add to goals of improving and protecting water quality as well as the protection of forested wetlands. This will also provide additional public recreational opportunities. The land it supports are historic and are recognized as one of the gems of the NCWRC.
The Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF), in partnership with the Virginia Department of Forestry and The Nature Conservancy, will bring an additional 657 acres of wetlands, bottomland hardwoods and working forests under the protected Nottoway River corridor. The tracts contain substantial bottomland hardwoods which contribute to water quality and support the diverse natural habitat in the Nottoway System while helping to provide much needed river access for this community.
The Virginia Department of Forestry: A permanent conservation easement will be placed on 837 acres in Southampton County, Va. The tract fronts on the state scenic Nottoway River and includes just over two miles of frontage. The property contains 600 acres of wetlands including roughly 250 acres of high-quality Cypress Tupelos, and about 350 acres of mixed typical Piedmont bottomland hardwoods. The Virginia Department of Forestry will implement a forest management plan that limits harvest to what is needed to maintain or enhance the health of the mature cypress tupelo marshes along with additional habitat protections for the other hardwood areas in the wetlands to ensure long-term management and forest cover. The tract also contains an uplands portion in pine plantation which will be managed as a long-term working forest.
“The projects supported by the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund are true long-term investments in the stewardship of our forests,” said Alicia Cramer, Senior Vice President of the Endowment. “By supporting these landscapes and safeguarding against their encroachment, we help sustain sources of clean air and water, protect threatened wildlife and plant life, and provide valuable recreational opportunities. The effects of these investments will be seen in these communities for years to come.”
About the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund
The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund is a $5 million, 10-year program established by Enviva Holdings, LP in December 2015 to protect environmentally sensitive bottomland and wetland forests. Administered by the US 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 US Endowment for Forestry and Communities:
The US 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.
Alicia Cramer, Senior Vice President
U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities