Enviva Forest Conservation Fund protects North Carolina watershed

By U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities | January 16, 2020

An important piece of the Little River watershed in the North Carolina Piedmont region will be protected for years to come in part through the help of a $20,000 grant from the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund to the Three Rivers Land Trust.

The Fund’s support leveraged another $660,000 in external funding, allowing the Land Trust to purchase a permanent conservation easement on approximately 230 acres adjacent to another conservation site that protects one of the few remaining bogs in the Piedmont region. The property is a unique landscape with high ecological and conservation value and contains a mix of bottomland hardwoods and longleaf pine forests. The Little River watershed is home to a mix of species, including rare mussels and the Crested Fringed Orchid. The Land Trust plans to host educational hikes that will be open to the public and will begin advertising these events later this spring.

“We are excited about the protection of this special property in Montgomery County. This site adjoins an estimable conservation site and houses pitcher plants and similar wetland habitats. Also, this is one of very few sites in the state with native Piedmont Longleaf Pine,” said Travis Morehead, Three Rivers Land Trust executive director. “We appreciate the funding made available through the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund to conserve important habitats like this one in our state.”

“This project supports the restoration and maintenance of two important ecosystems – bottomland hardwoods and longleaf pine,” said Carlton Owen, president and CEO of the U. S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities that administers the Fund. “Not only is this land in the Little River watershed home to myriad plant and animal species, but it is also a critical clean water resource for the region, and we are proud to help bring Enviva and Three Rivers Land Trust together for this great outcome.”  

“Enviva was especially glad to assist in the conservation of this tract because it has both critical bottomland hardwood as well as longleaf pine forest, which is also a priority for Enviva,” said Jennifer Jenkins, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer for Enviva.

The Fund’s goal is to be a catalyst for investments in critical forest and habitat conservation in the North Carolina coastal plain and southeastern Virginia region. More than three years into the planned 10-year partnership, seventeen projects have been funded with a total commitment of over $2 million including the grant announced today. When these projects are completed, the Fund will have protected an estimated 24,500 acres of sensitive wetland forest and other habitats.