RANDOLPH COUNTY, NC—The Open Space Institute (OSI) has approved a grant to the LandTrust for Central North Carolina that will go toward a conservation easement to protect 500 acres of climate-resilient lands in central North Carolina.
With mature hardwood forests, rare species and unique habitat, the property also possesses over a mile of frontage on Poison Fork Creek. The creek has been named an "outstanding resource water," the highest water quality designation in the State of North of Carolina.
“The protection of this property, and in particular its critical water resource, will be a huge conservation victory that 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 its Resilient Landscapes Initiative, OSI partners with conservation organizations in the Southeast to assemble networks of protected lands to preserve plant and animal diversity in a changing climate. Capitalized with a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Southeast Resilient Landscapes Fund provides capital grants and loans to qualified nonprofits for the acquisition of land or conservation easements on climate-resilient lands.
“The awarding of this grant is only the first step in the process to seeing this land conserved,” said Executive Director Travis Morehead. “We will also be applying for matching funds to the Clean Water Management Trust Fund for the remainder of the money needed to purchase this conservation easement. The importance of this project for preservation of wildlife habitat and water quality cannot be overstated.”
The LandTrust has completed other conservation projects in this area, including expanding the Uwharrie National Recreational Trail, adding two new trailheads, and opening new 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.
Through an in-depth review process, 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 portions of Randolph, Montgomery, Stanly and Richmond counties in North Carolina.