RFP opens for Enviva Forest Conservation Fund

By U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities | December 13, 2018

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities has released a new request for proposals (RFP) for the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund. Up to $500,000 is available for 2019 grants to protect bottomland hardwood and other wetland forests in northeast North Carolina and southeast Virginia.

This is the fourth year of a $5 million, 10-year program launched by Enviva Holdings LP and the Endowment in 2015. Not-for-profit organizations, government agencies and tribes are eligible to apply for grants. The deadline for proposals is February 28, 2019. The RFP and additional materials are available on the Endowment’s website and at http://www.usendowment.org/rfps/envivafund.html.

“Over the past three funding cycles, the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund has contributed to the protection of vital lands that contribute to the health of entire ecosystems,” said Carlton Owen, president and CEO of the Endowment. “Bottomland hardwoods serve a critical role in our southeastern watersheds. One of the most valuable contributions of the bottomland hardwood ecosystem is its capacity to serve as our best natural filtration system. As we continue to encounter severe storm and flooding challenges, these landscapes are key to water management and will lessen the severity of flooding to downstream communities by providing areas to store floodwater.”

Since its inception in 2015, the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund has supported a total of 10 projects with over $1.5 million dollars. Once completed, these projects will protect 15,000 acres across North Carolina and Virginia. These protected forests help provide a clean drinking water source, act as a buffer to infrastructure during storms, and provide critical habitats for many species of wildlife, while at the same time providing jobs and economic opportunity for rural families and private landowners.

“Working bottomland forests once were more abundant across the Southeastern United States,” said Jennifer Jenkins, vice president and chief sustainability officer at Enviva. “Over the past 50 years, though, population pressure has resulted in the loss of too many of these productive and unique ecosystems, primarily due to forest land conversion to urban and agricultural uses. By partnering with the conservation community in regions of North Carolina and Virginia, we are actively promoting the conservation of these essential components of the working forest landscape.”