The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund (the Fund) today announced the recipients of its 2023 grants. The projects funded this year will help conserve more than 6,165 acres and protect ecologically sensitive bottomland hardwood forests in the Virginia-North Carolina coastal plains.
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An overhead view of the Smith Sugg Pocosin Tract in North Carolina (Photo: Business Wire)
Including those announced today, the Fund has awarded 31 projects totaling more than $3,800,000 in grants over the past eight years. An estimated 36,736,000 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.
“The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund plays a critical role in keeping forests as forests across America’s timber basket, the U.S. Southeast,” said Brandi Colander, Chief Sustainability Officer at Enviva. This year marks a special milestone for The Fund as this cycle’s projects, once completed, will catapult Enviva past its initial goal of conserving 35,000 acres of bottomland hardwood forests two years ahead of schedule.”
“The Endowment continues to be proud of the impactful results of the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund. These grants represent long-term investments promoting conservation, managed forests, biological diversity, and ecosystem sustainability in these important areas of North Carolina and Virginia,” said Teal Edelen, Program Officer at the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities.
The 2023 Enviva Forest Conservation Fund grant recipients include:
North Carolina Coastal Land Trust: A grant to the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust is undergoing the process to protect 1,400-acres of nearly roadless, unditched, and relatively undisturbed pocosin within the Carteret Crescent Conservation Focus Area. The tract links portions of the Croatan National Forest in Craven and Carteret Counties to the Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge in Carteret County, and serves as an important habitat for a variety of threatened and endangered species, including Northern Long-Eared Bat, Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, Timber Rattlesnake, and the Acadian Flycatcher.
Three Rivers Land Conservancy: Three Rivers Land Conservancy aims to acquire a 1,011-acre property located along Drowning Creek in Moore County, NC. The tract adjoins existing conserved properties along Drowning Creek, providing connectivity for wildlife to thrive, including the Northern Pinesnake, Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, Rough-Leafed Loosestrife, and the Eastern Tiger Salamander. Drowning Creek is classified as a “High Quality Watershed,” contains a section of the Drowning Creek Aquatic Habitat, and buffers over 44,000 linear feet of stream.
The Virginia Outdoors Foundation: The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund is supporting a grant that will have a positive impact on over 3,860 acres of land located on the Nottoway and Meherrin Rivers in Virginia. The grant will be used to support conservation efforts aimed at protecting the natural habitats of a variety of wildlife, including neo-tropical songbirds, waterfowl, groundnesting birds, raptors, the Rafinesque’s Eastern Big -Eared Bat, and the Eastern Mudsnake. The tracts of land included in the grant provide important migratory pathways and habitats for these species, as well as contribute to the National Scenic Rivers initiative on the Nottoway River. The Meherrin tract, known as Pierces Lowgrounds, is a particularly important area, as it contains nearly 800-acres of hardwood wetlands and substantial Meherrin frontage.
About the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund
The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund is a $5 million, 10-year program established by Enviva 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. Learn more at http://envivaforestfund.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.
Aleta Rogers, Manager of Grants and Contract Compliance at the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities