More than 700 Acres Permanently Preserved through Partnership
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE (December 2, 2020)
Greenville, S.C. –The Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) announced its purchase of a permanent conservation easement on 710 acres of bottomland hardwood forests in Southampton County, Virginia, made possible in part by a grant from the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund (the Fund). The easement restricts all future residential, commercial, and industrial development for any purpose. Additionally, it will promote sound, upland forest management via the implementation of a formal forest management plan and establish riparian protection zones.
Brett Christina Glymph, Executive Director of VOF, explained, “The state of Virginia has designated this area with a high ‘Forest Conservation Value’ encouraging its protection. However, without intervention, bottomland harvesting would be inevitable, given the quality and volume of bald cypress and hardwood saw-timber present. Helping to mitigate conversion risk, combined with our strong desire to build on other ongoing conservation efforts, made this purchase essential. Enviva understands this imperative and once again provided vital support for our success. We are grateful for their partnership.”
The tract’s 10,000 feet of perennial streams help comprise the Three Creek Swamp of the Nottoway River, a tributary of the Chowan River, which drains to the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound Estuary. The Nottoway is designated as a Virginia Scenic River by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. It’s home to 32 species of “greatest conservation need” and also functions as an important bird nesting and rookery area along the Three Creek bottomlands.
The site has 200 acres of old-growth bald cypress-tupelo swamp forest. The remaining 510 acres are predominantly in working pine plantations. Of the approximately 603 square miles in Southampton County, 345 square miles, or 57.3% of the land area, are devoted to forests. The newly acquired easement is roughly 1.5 miles upstream of a previously conserved site partially funded through the use of the Fund in 2019.
“Two hundred years ago, these glorious bottomland forests covered approximately thirty million acres across the Southeastern United States,” explained Alicia Cramer, Sr. Vice President of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. “Today, only about forty percent of that area still supports the productive and unique ecosystems provided by these forests. The determination of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and its many partners to help stem the loss of lands is most appreciated by the conservation community.”
The Fund’s goal is to be a catalyst for forest and habitat conservation in the southeastern Virginia region and North Carolina’s coastal plain. More than five years into the planned 10-year partnership, 19 projects have been funded with a total commitment approaching $2.2 million, including the grant announced today. When these projects are completed, the Fund will have helped protect an estimated 27,000 acres of sensitive wetland forest and other habitats.
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 U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the Fund awards grants annually to nonprofit organizations and government agencies for conservation projects in North Carolina and Virginia. Learn more: http://envivaforestfund.org/
About Virginia Outdoor Foundation
The Virginia Outdoors Foundation is Virginia’s leader in land conservation, protecting nearly 850,000 acres in 109 counties and cities. The Virginia General Assembly created VOF in 1966. Today, we receive both public and private support for our work. VOF protects a wide variety of open spaces, from farms and forests to parks and historic landscapes. We work with federal, state, local, and private conservation organizations to achieve our mission. Learn more: www.virginiaoutdoorsfoundation.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.
For more information, contact:
Alicia Cramer, Senior Vice President, (205) 792-8650, firstname.lastname@example.org