Enviva Forest Conservation Fund awards 2017 grants

By Enviva Holdings LP | June 07, 2017

The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund recently announced the recipients of its 2017 grants.

Established by Enviva Holdings LP and administered by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the Fund is awarding $500,000 to three projects that will help conserve more than 8,000 acres of environmentally sensitive bottomland and wetland forests.

The 2017 Enviva Forest Conservation Fund grant recipients are:

Ducks Unlimited: The Fund is providing $175,000 to assist with the acquisition of more than 6,000 acres in Camden County, North Carolina. The property is designated as wetlands and includes pocosins and Atlantic white cedar stands, which are bottomland forest ecosystems that the Fund has designated as priority conservation targets. Once acquired, this property will be owned by the state and open to the public as a Wildlife Management Area.

North Carolina Coastal Land Trust: The Fund is providing $200,000 to help acquire 1,000 acres in Bertie County, North Carolina, for creation of a new State Natural Area with public access. The property includes a mature cypress-gum swamp along the Chowan River and Salmon Creek. It also is the site of an archaeological study to determine if this property is where members of the Roanoke Island “lost colonists” may have relocated for a time.

Virginia Department of Forestry: The Fund is providing $125,000 to support a conservation easement on more than 1,000 acres in Sussex County, Virginia. This project blends working forest uses with permanent protection of bottomland forests including mature cypress/tupelo stands and a natural area set-aside to protect the state rare Savanna Panic Grass (Phanopyrum gymnocarpon).

“Our local conservation partners—Ducks Unlimited, the Virginia Department of Forestry, and the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust—have come through with some sensational projects in this second year of the program,” said Carlton N. Owen, president and CEO of the Endowment. “Not only will their good work lead to more than 8,000 acres of sensitive forestland being protected, but the public will have access to most of this property for compatible recreational uses.”

“Awards from the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund enable our partners to secure matching dollars from other funding sources,” said Brian van Eerden, director of The Nature Conservancy’s Virginia Southern Rivers Program. “The Nature Conservancy is pleased to see how Enviva’s investments are unlocking new capital and fostering public interest in conserving wetland forests. If sustained, these contributions will help achieve valuable floodplain protection for wildlife in southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina.”

Local, state and national conservation organizations submitted applications for funding to protect environmentally sensitive forests in 35 counties in the Virginia-North Carolina coastal plain, an area that is home to four wood pellet production facilities and a deep-water marine terminal owned by Enviva. Applications were evaluated by the Endowment based on a number of factors, including the ecological quality of the property, potential threats to the property’s integrity, its associated conservation values and links to other conservation areas. The Fund targets sensitive bottomland and wetland areas which offer a wide range of environmental and economic benefits.