Enviva Forest Conservation fund protects forestland in Virginia

By U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities | November 25, 2019

An important watershed forest along the beautiful and biodiverse Nottoway River in Southampton County, Virginia, will now be permanently preserved thanks in part to a grant from the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund. The Virginia Outdoor Foundation of Tappahannock has acquired the 246 acres of high conservation value forest and will hold it in a conservation easement.  The tract will be managed in perpetuity using a combination of working forest plans with riparian and special habitat protection.

The tract—55 acres of riparian buffer or approximately 2.3 miles—includes “no-harvest” areas that will provide water quality benefits, complement the growing corridor of protected tracts on the Nottoway, and protect a Coastal Plain bottomland forest. The site is located in a Virginia longleaf pine priority conservation area.

The lowland portion is home to multiple plant and animal species of concern including the rare crowfoot sedge (Carex crus-corvi) [a plant] and the yellow lampmussel (Lampsilis cariosa) [a freshwater mussel]. Through the easement, this critical habitat will be preserved and continuously enhanced. The upland portions are to remain as working forest, providing sustainable wood products to a variety of markets.

“We are excited to be able to acquire and preserve this beautiful and important riparian forest that is home to so many plants and animals,” said Brett Christina Glymph, dxecutive director of the VOF. “The property will have both rare species conservation and sustainable forest management. We are grateful to Enviva for their contribution to our conservation mission.”

Hunter Darden, the property owner, said, “My wife Kathy and I are pleased to be a part of protecting this property for future generations to come, and to preserve the natural beauty of the Nottoway River.” 

“This land will be preserved and managed indefinitely as forest, rather than being converted to agriculture or other non-forest uses,” said Carlton Owen, president and CEO of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. “Forested watersheds play a vital role in storing and purifying water for downstream consumers and provide two-thirds of the drinking water in the U.S.”

The Fund’s goal is to be a catalyst for investments in forest and habitat conservation in the southeastern Virginia region and North Carolina’s coastal plain. More than four years into the planned 10-year partnership, 17 projects have been funded with a total commitment approaching $2.0 million, including the grant announced today. When these projects are completed, the Fund will have helped protect an estimated 24,000 acres of sensitive wetland forest and other habitats.