Three Rivers Land Trust receives $50,000 grant from Alcoa Foundation

Published 3:25 pm Wednesday, August 9, 2023

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Three Rivers Land Trust and the Alcoa Foundation have partnered to improve forest health and wildlife habitat on private lands across 15 counties in the North Carolina Piedmont and Sandhills. The partnership is led by Three Rivers Land Trust, which received a $50,000 grant from the Alcoa Foundation in July, to increase the capacity of its flagship Habitat Enhancement Lands Program.

The HELP program was created by Three Rivers Land Trust to assist landowners meet their wildlife and forestry conservation goals by providing technical guidance and facilitating implementation of wildlife habitat improvement and forest restoration projects.

This grant allows TRLT to assist private landowners in implementing on-the-ground habitat restoration practices that achieve the landowner’s conservation goals. With private lands accounting for over 95% of the region, the Habitat Enhancement Lands Program is critical component in conserving our regions biodiverse resources.

“The responsibility of wildlife and forest management cannot be left only to state or federal agencies,” said Katie Stovall, conservation lands manager for Three Rivers Land Trust. “Private lands in North Carolina account for majority of the acreage, which in turn, are left holding the majority of wildlife species. If we truly want to improve populations of declining wildlife species, that work has to also occur on private lands.”

“We understand that getting sound management advice, cost-share assistance, or quality implementation of desired practices can be a tough process to navigate,” added Mark Bost, HELP coordinator for TRLT. “We want to help landowners by streamlining those processes and providing services that truly help every landowner meet their forestry and wildlife objectives.”

Three Rivers staff has already been featured in several publications highlighting the HELP’s work in the field through facilitating prescribed burns to improve wildlife habitat and reduce wildfire potential, and implementing management plans to control non-native and invasive species.

Common assistance of the program includes the HELP staff producing customized forest management plans, assistance with reforestation and planting of trees, pollinator habitat improvement, or deer and turkey wildlife management plans. The program provides access to highly qualified natural resource professionals that are trained in wildlife and forest management to assist landowners wherever needed. The intent of the grant is to improve and restore 4,000 acres of land and to work with over 80 landowners.

Both Three Rivers Land Trust and the Alcoa Foundation aim to improve wildlife habitat and forest health by promoting stewardship for forests and wildlife within local communities.

Three Rivers Land Trust has conserved more than 46,000 acres of local land for wildlife species and productive forests. The work on these areas has focused on the permanent conservation of rural lands, agriculture, wildlife communities, and water resources that will the benefit of North Carolinians for generations to come.