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LandTrust gets $150,000 grant for conservation easement

LandTrust for Central N.C.

The LandTrust for Central North Carolina on Tuesday said it has received a $152,344 grant from the Open Space Institute’s Southeast Resilient Landscapes Fund for part of the purchase of a conservation easement on 500 acres in Randolph County.

The property boasts mature hardwood forests, rare species, adjacency to other conserved lands, and unique wildlife habitat. The property also has more than a mile of frontage on Poison Fork Creek, rated an outstanding resource water, the highest water quality designation the state of North Carolina gives.

OSI partners with conservation organizations in the Southeast to assemble networks of protected lands to preserve plant and animal diversity in a changing climate. The Southeast Resilient Landscapes Fund, capitalized with a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, provides grants and loans to nonprofit groups for the acquisition of land or conservation easements on climate-resilient lands.

“The approval of this generous grant is only the first step in conserving this property,” said LandTrust Executive Director Travis Morehead. “We will also be applying for matching funds to the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund for the additional funding necessary to purchase this conservation easement. This project’s importance regarding water quality simply cannot be overstated.”

“The protection of this property, and in particular its critical water resource, will be a huge conservation victory and will benefit residents of this community for generations to come,” said Peter Howell, executive vice president of OSI. “We congratulate the LandTrust for Central North Carolina and commend them for their tireless efforts to conserve this beautiful place.”

Through an in-depth review, OSI selected three focus areas: the Southern Cumberlands in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee; the Southern Blue Ridge in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee; and the Greater Pee Dee River in South Carolina and North Carolina.

This project falls in the Greater Pee Dee River focus area, which encompasses parts of Randolph, Montgomery, Stanly and Richmond counties in North Carolina.

LandTrust has completed other conservation projects in this area, including expanding Uwharrie National Recreational Trail by 8 miles, adding two trailheads, and opening gamelands for hiking and hunting.

Unique species found here include the federally listed endangered Schweinitz’s sunflower, the state-listed rare Georgia aster, timber rattlesnake, and a variety of rare mussels found in the stream and downstream of the site.

To join LandTrust in its mission to conserve important lands, visit www.landtrustcnc.org.

For more information on this project or the organization, contact Crystal Cockman at crystal@landtrustcnc.org or 704-647-0302.

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