Enviva helps protect threatened habitat, watershed in Virginia

By Enviva Holdings LP | April 24, 2019

A critical habitat for a threatened bat species will be preserved thanks in part to a $50,000 grant from the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. The award will go towards a $750,000 project to acquire and establish a conservation easement for the “Shand’s Tract,” 8,000 feet of frontage along the Nottoway River, as well as 425 acres of cypress and tupelo swampland. In addition to helping protect the tract, Enviva funds will be used to enhance public access by supporting the acquisition of a boat ramp which will be owned by the town of Courtland, Virginia, giving the public permanent access to the waterway.

The unique cypress swamp forest that will be preserved is of high ecological and conservation value. These bottomlands provide shelter for several species of bats most impacted by the white-nose syndrome; a fungal disease associated with the death of millions of bats. During late spring and summer, bats rely on the large mature trees for roosting and for rearing their young. The bats also provide a natural and economic benefit to farmers and foresters in the community by consuming tons of harmful insects and pests.

“Our mission at VOF is to encourage investment to promote the preservation of the many natural, scenic, historical, scientific, open-space and recreational areas of the Commonwealth,” said Brett Christina Glymph, executive director of the VOF. “In addition to providing a home for the bats, the riparian river frontage is a high priority watershed, as it is home to at least two documented threatened aquatic species and multiple neo-tropical and migratory bird species. We so appreciate the funding made available through the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund to conserve important habitats like this one in our state, as well as all of our partners in this project, including Ducks Unlimited and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.”

“At the Endowment, we are committed to both forests and the people that rely on them,” said Carlton Owen, president and CEO of the U. S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. “These forests that will be protected are of significant value not only because they are home to threatened and endangered species, but because they also provide flood mitigation services and contribute to the quality of life for the communities that surround them.”

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 three years into the planned 10-year partnership, 13 projects have been funded with a total commitment of over $1.5 million, including the grant announced today. When these projects are completed, the Fund will have helped protect an estimated 17,000 acres of sensitive wetland forest and other habitats.