In a landmark conservation effort, 2,808 acres of Pierce’s Low Grounds in Greensville County have been permanently protected, securing a vital ecological asset for future generations. The property, recognized by the Virginia Department of Forestry with a high-ranking in “Forest Conservation Value,” is now protected from development, thanks to collaborative efforts and strategic partnerships.
The conservation initiative was made possible in part through a $50,000 grant provided by the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund (EFCF), a $650,000 grant from the Virginia Land Conservation Fund, and a $600,000 grant from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. This project exemplifies the power of partnerships in advancing conservation goals.
Key Features of Pierce’s Low Grounds:
- Ecological Significance: The Property, identified as part of the Virginia Piedmont Forest Block complex (Important Bird Area), boasts significant ecological importance. It houses diverse habitats crucial for the sustenance of various species.
- River Frontage: Pierce’s Low Grounds contains approximately 3,900 feet of frontage along the Meherrin River, a tributary of the Chowan River. This strategic location contributes to the protection of water quality in the Meherrin and Chowan Rivers, ultimately benefiting the Albemarle-Pamlico Sound Estuary.
- Threatened Species Habitat: Within the property’s boundaries lies habitat critical for threatened species, including Rafinesque’s Eastern Big Eared Bat, Eastern Mudsnake, and Green Floater. Preserving this habitat is a significant step in the conservation of these species.
- Natural Heritage Screening: The Property falls within the Claresville Bottomlands Natural Heritage Screening Conservation Site, further emphasizing its ecological significance and the need for its protection.
Estie Thomas, Easement Manager at Virginia Outdoors Foundation, expressed the importance of the preservation of Pierce’s Low Grounds: “This project nearly doubles the amount of pristine forest and habitat VOF has conserved in partnership with Enviva over the past decade. We are grateful for their support, and for the support of the landowners whose commitment to conservation is inspiring.”
Brandi Colander, Chief Sustainability Officer at Enviva, stated, “We are incredibly pleased to have been able to assist in the permanent conservation of this property due to its significant importance for critical bottomland forests as well as for the preservation and protection of precious habitats for various species, including threatened ones.”
The Pierce’s Low Grounds conservation project aligns with the broader mission of environmental stewardship and sustainable land management, ensuring the perpetual preservation of this significant natural landscape.
About the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund:
The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund is a $5 million, 10-year program established by Enviva in December 2015 to protect environmentally sensitive bottomland and wetland forests. Administered by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the Fund awards grants annually to nonprofit organizations and government agencies for conservation projects. Learn more at http://envivaforestfund.org/
About Virginia Outdoors Foundation:
The Virginia Outdoors Foundation is established to promote the preservation of open-space lands and to encourage private gifts of money, securities, land or other property to preserve the natural, scenic, historic, scientific, open-space and recreational areas of the Commonwealth.
Learn more: https://vof.org/
About the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities:
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities is a not-for-profit public charity working collaboratively with partners in the public and private sectors to advance systemic, transformative, and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation’s working forests and forest-reliant communities. To learn more about the Endowment, please visit our website at www.usendowment.org.
Aleta Rogers, U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (firstname.lastname@example.org; 864-233-7646)