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LandTrust gets grant to buy shoreline along Yadkin River, High Rock Lake

Orvis partners with LandTrust

In September 2016, Alcoa got a new license for operating four dams on the Yadkin River. One component of this agreement is the opportunity for a significant amount of land to be conserved. The LandTrust for Central North Carolina was part of the original negotiations for the Alcoa relicensing settlement agreement, and was able to successfully advocate for the conservation of 4,700 acres of land comprising 76 miles of shoreline.

The LandTrust is raising the funds to buy these lands. The total cost is approximately $12 million.

The Orvis Company  has offered to help The LandTrus. Mary Schaeffer, Orvis’ district manager for North Carolina, said, “We are excited to partner with The LandTrust on this, particularly for the opportunity to have such an impactful conservation cause to focus our efforts on so close to home.”

Orvis believes that, if we are to benefit from the use of our natural resources and environment, we must be willing to act to preserve them. On the weekend of Oct. 7-8, Orvis has pledged 5 percent of the pretax profits from their four North Carolina locations — Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh— to the Alcoa Project.

“The conservation of the Alcoa lands represents a significant undertaking in the history of the region and The LandTrust,” states Executive Director Travis Morehead. “We have permanently conserved 25,000 acres of land in our 21 year history, and working with the Wildlife Resources Commission we could help protect nearly one-fifth of that amount with just one project. The significance of conserving these lands cannot be overstated, it is the culmination of what The LandTrust has sought to achieve since its inception — protection at a landscape scale along the Yadkin River.”

The LandTrust for Central North Carolina was recently awarded a $1.2 million grant from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund supporting efforts to buy 4,700-acres and 76 miles of shoreline owned by the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA). These lands are made available as part of the Relicensing Settlement Agreement signed by Alcoa in 2007.

The LandTrust is working to conserve the 2,310 acres along the Yadkin River, the South Yadkin River and High Rock Lake, and the grant funding that was awarded will go towards this effort. Its conservation partner, The NC Wildlife Resources Commission, is working to acquire the remaining 2,400 acres of land on the eastern shore of the Tuckertown Reservoir.

“The LandTrust is grateful and excited to have been awarded a grant from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund,” said Executive Director Travis Morehead. “The conservation of the Alcoa Lands is our top priority as an organization. This acquisition is also our largest and most expensive conservation project to date.”

Protection of these lands provides habitat for several unique species of salamanders, the eastern gray treefrog, timber rattlesnake, yellow lampmussel and spadefoot toad.

One particularly unique aspect of this project is the protection of the Southern James Bay Goose Zone migratory flyway. These geese are afforded special protection by the State of North Carolina, as they are the only remaining truly migratory geese in the Piedmont of North Carolina. This forested corridor is also significant for neotropical migratory birds and other migratory waterfowl.

The lands represented by this project are privately held (owned by ALCOA) but have been open and accessible to the public as “gamelands” for over 30 years. Generations of North Carolinians have enjoyed access to these lands for a variety of recreational activities including camping, hiking, rock climbing, paddling, hunting and fishing. Without this purchase by The LandTrust and the Wildlife Resources Commission, these lands could be sold on the open market and the public recreation currently enjoyed could be lost.

The acquisition of the Alcoa Lands conserves critical habitat, connects conserved areas and wild places, provides access for the public and helps to sustain the local outdoor recreation/tourism economies. To contribute to this important conservation project, you may contact The LandTrust at 704-647-0302 or donate online at http://landtrustcnc.org/alcoa-lands-conservation/.

To learn more about this project or how you can support The LandTrust for Central North Carolina, contact Crystal Cockman at 704-647-0302 or crystal@landtrustcnc.org.

 

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