Department of Defense Announces 2023 REPI Challenge Funding Recipients

 Forest health and wildfire mitigation highlight strategies to preserve national security priorities

U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Greenville, SC

For IMMEDIATE RELEASE (January 30, 2023)

The Department of Defense Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program today announced $24 million in funding for the 2023 REPI Challenge Program. Thirteen projects will benefit 26 installations and the communities that support them.  These awards will leverage nearly $50 million in partner contributions. Three projects directly benefit the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership.

This is the 12th consecutive year of the REPI Challenge Program.  As noted on its website, the REPI Challenge supports “…innovative projects that limit incompatible development, enhance military installation resilience to climate change and extreme weather events, and/or relieve current or anticipated environmental restrictions on military testing, training, or operations at locations hosting key mission capabilities.”

“The 2023 REPI Challenge Program includes projects that will make key mission capabilities of strategic importance more resilient to climate change,” said Peter Stangel, Chief Operating Office at the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. “Enhancing forest health and reducing wildfire risk are important strategies. For example, Arizona and New Jersey installations are using proactive partnerships to reduce the possibility of potentially catastrophic wildfires on people, infrastructure, and communities.”  The Endowment provides administrative support to the REPI Challenge and the Sentinel Landscapes Program as a service to the Department of Defense.  

A fact sheet on the 2023 REPI Challenge Projects and information about a webinar highlighting some of the projects is available at http://www.repi.mil/Buffer-Projects/REPI-Challenge/

The 2023 REPI Challenge funding recipients are:

  • Naval Observatory Flagstaff & Camp Navajo, AZ
    • Northern Arizona Fuels and Wildfire Risk Reduction; $1.0M
  • U.S. Army Garrison Hawaiʻi, Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands, Marine Corps Base Hawaiʻi, HI
    • Increasing Resilience of Endangered Wildlife Found on Critical Landscapes; $2.9M
  • U.S. Army GarrisonHawaiʻi, Pōhakuloa Training Area, HI
    • Nāpuʻu Natural Resource Protection: Mitigating Rare Plant Impacts; $1.3M
  • U.S. Army GarrisonHawaiʻi: Makua Military Reservation, Schofield Barracks, Kahuku Training Area, Poamoho Training Area, HI
    • Ecosystem Restoration and Rare Plant and Animal Preservation on O’ahu; $2.7M
  • Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA
    • Advancing Sentinel Landscape Priorities to Build Prairie and Working Landscape Resilience; $2.4M
  • Joint Region Marianas: Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz, Andersen Air Force Base, GU
    • Landscape Scale Feral Pig Control in Northern Guam; $1.2M
  • Joint Region Marianas: Naval Base Guam, Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz, Andersen Air Force Base, GU
    • Guam Department of Agriculture Native Plant Nursery Upgrades for Island-Wide Habitat Enhancement; $1.9M
  • Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Warren Grove Range, Naval Weapons Station Earle, Sea Girt National Guard Training Facility, AEGIS Combat System Engineering Site, NJ
    • Infrastructure Resilience and Natural Resource Enhancement; $995K
  • Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands, Marine Corps Base Hawaiʻi, Pōhakuloa Training Area, HI
    • Detection and Management of High-Impact Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species; $3.1M
  • Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Naval Base Coronado, Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu, Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, CA
    • West Coast Beach Breeding Bird Conservation Fund; $75K
  • Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA
    • Resilience Improvements Planning; $286K
  • Joint Base San Antonio Camp Bullis, TX
    • Camp Bullis Sentinel Landscape; $5.1M

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For more information contact:
Peter Stangel, 404-915-2763; peter@usendowment.org

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) 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 – www.usendowment.org

2023 Enviva Forest Conservation Fund Request for Proposals

Deadline for proposals is March 10, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GREENVILLE, SC (January 19, 2023) The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) today released a new Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund (the Fund). $500,000 funding will be awarded to protect bottomland hardwood and other wetland forests in eastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia.

This is the eighth cycle of a $5 million, 10-year program launched by Enviva and the Endowment in 2015. Not-for-profit organizations, government agencies, and tribes are eligible to apply for grants. The deadline for proposals is March 10, 2023. The RFP and additional materials are available on the Endowment’s website.

“The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund continues to hold true to its mission—conserving sensitive wetland forests that are at risk of threat due to land conversion, invasive species, the impact of climate change, and other issues. In these areas of North Carolina and Virginia, these forests are vital to biodiversity, outdoor recreation, clean water, and countless additional functions on which these affected communities rely,” said Teal Edelen, Program Officer at the Endowment. “These efforts, combined with those of on-the-ground conservation groups, will help conserve these special forests for many years to come.”

“As we enter into our 8th year supporting the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund, I am immensely proud of the projects funded, the acres protected and conserved, and the milestones we’ve achieved along the way,” said Thomas Meth, President and CEO of Enviva. “I am amazed by the wide range of environmental and economic benefits provided by the EFCF and applied to these magnificent ecosystems within our operating footprint.”

Since its inception in 2015, the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund has supported 29 projects with approximately $3.2 million invested. The projects funded to date by the Fund have protected about 31,000 acres across North Carolina and Virginia. These protected forests help provide a clean drinking water source, act as a buffer to infrastructure during storms, and provide critical habitats for many species of wildlife while at the same time providing jobs and economic opportunities for rural families and private landowners.

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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 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.

For more information, contact: Brandon Walters, (864) 233-7646, brandon@usendowment.org

Endowment Welcomes New Board Members

Board adds Da Cunha, Raglin to Board of Directors; Blocker and Kilpi Re-elected, Emmerson Selected for Past Chair Term; Farrell Retires

For IMMEDIATE RELEASE (December 8, 2022)

Greenville, SC – The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) is pleased to announce that Beatriz Da Cunha and Josh Raglin were elected as new directors at the organization’s fall board meeting.

Da Cunha leads Strategic Planning & Initiatives for the Credit Platform within BlackRock Alternatives in New York City. Previously, she served as Chief Operating Officer of BlackRock Sustainable Investing. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Commerce from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and a Master of Business Administration from the Stern School of Business at New York University.

Raglin is Chief Sustainability Officer at Norfolk Southern Corporation and has served in that role since 2020. He has been with the company since 1996 and has extensive experience in applying nature-based solutions. He has also served on numerous nonprofit and college advisory boards. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries Ecology from Oklahoma State University.

“We are excited to have Beatriz and Josh joining the Endowment’s board of directors,” said Pete Madden, the Endowment’s President and CEO. “Each of them brings fresh perspective and unique vision from their respective backgrounds. We look forward to working with them to advance the Endowment’s mission.”

“I’m thrilled to join the Endowment’s board to partner with the team and contribute to the organization’s mission to advance systematic, transformative, and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation’s working forests and forest-reliant communities,” said Da Cunha.

“Norfolk Southern has a long history in forestry as both a consumer and transporter of wood,” said Raglin. “I am both humbled and excited to serve in this new role to further sustainable change alongside the Endowment’s impressive team.”

Adrian Blocker and Soile Kilpi were re-elected to another term on the board of directors and Mark Emmerson was elected to a one-year term as “past chairman,” allowing him to serve a final year on the Endowment’s board.

“I am delighted to have Adrian and Soile remain on the board for another term,” said Madden. “Their knowledge and commitment to the Endowment are solid and I am proud to continue our work together.”

“Mark Emmerson has been an outstanding leader as Chairman of our Board,” said Madden. “He has served us well during his tenure and the Endowment is a stronger organization as a result of his contributions.  His first-hand experience and knowledge of the forest industry is unparalleled and his willingness to share it with the Endowment has been instrumental in our success. While he will no longer be serving as Chair, we are thankful to have him as a director another year so he can continue to help guide the Endowment.”

The following new board officers were also elected: Chris McIver as Chairman and Mark Reed as Vice Chairman. Kevin Schuyler was re-elected as Treasurer.

“With Chris McIver taking over as Chair and Mark Reed as Vice Chair, the Endowment is fortunate to have such exceptional leadership,” said Madden. “As they join Kevin Schuyler as Treasurer, I know we will be well-served as we look to the future.”

Board and staff expressed appreciation to and celebrated outstanding service by outgoing member Jim Farrell. Farrell has served on the board since 2012, originally joining as the Canadian liaison to the board and was later elected as a board member in his own right.

“We are grateful for the long, commendable service that Jim has given to the Endowment,” said Madden. “His unique insight into the issues facing forests across North America has been incredibly valuable and his leadership, including his service as Chair of our Audit Committee, has been exceptional. We wish him well as he rotates off the Endowment’s board.”

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Media Contact

Brandon Walters, Communications and Administrative Coordinator, brandon@usendowment.org; (864) 233-7646.

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.

Grant Program Opens to Address National Forest System Challenges Through Innovative Finance

Deadline for proposal submission is March 6, 2023

For IMMEDIATE RELEASE (November 21, 2022)

The Innovative Finance for National Forests (IFNF) grant program announces the opening of its next round of solicitations for program funding. The IFNF grant program supports the development and implementation of innovative finance models that leverage private and public capital other than U.S. Forest System (USFS) annual appropriations to enhance the resilience of the National Forest System (NFS). The grants are funded and administered by the USDA Forest Service National Partnership Office (NPO) and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment).

National Forests provide social, environmental, and economic benefits to communities across the United States including clean drinking water, recreational opportunities, forest products, rural jobs, and more. However, with increased wildfires, impacts of climate change, and deferred maintenance backlogs, USFS is experiencing stewardship needs that exceed the agency’s annual appropriations. To address this need, the IFNF grant program provides grants for the development and implementation of innovative financing projects in the areas of wildfire resilience and recovery, watershed health, and sustainable recreation infrastructure and access. Feasibility, pilot, and scaling projects will be considered for IFNF funds.

“Through the Innovative Finance for National Forests program the Forest Service is investing in creative, locally-driven public-private partnership models to address landscape-scale challenges around wildfire risk, forest and watershed health, and recreation infrastructure. The program offers an exciting opportunity for partners and communities to work with the Forest Service to explore, pilot, and scale new ways of leveraging agency funds to take on our biggest stewardship needs at a quicker pace and larger scale,” said Chris French, Deputy Chief at the U.S. Forest Service.

“The Innovative Finance for National Forests grant program supports development of new and effective sources of funding for pressing natural resource challenges such as forest health. Tapping into the creativity of local partners will give us another tool to finance the work required to keep our forests and forest rich communities healthy and resilient. We are grateful to the Forest Service for their leadership on this program,” said Pete Madden, President and CEO at the Endowment.

The IFNF team will be hosting informational webinars on November 30th at 3p EST/Noon PST and December 7th at 1p EST/10a PST. For more information on the program and to review the Request for Proposal (RFP), please visit www.usendowment.org/ifnf.

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For more information contact:

Sophie Beavin, sophie.beavin@usdsa.gov and Nathalie Woolworth, nathalie.woolworth@usda.gov

The USDA Forest Service National Partnership Office (NPO) Conservation Finance Program leads the way in positioning the Forest Service to leverage sources of capital other than agency appropriations to support priority projects through public-private partnership models.

Brandon Walters, brandon@usendowment.org, and Peter Stangel, peter@usendowment.org
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) 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 – www.usendowment.org

Endowment Releases Phase One Summary of Historic Hispanic Forest Landowner Study

For Immediate Release (November 3, 2022)

Greenville, SC – The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) released a summary of findings from a recent study of Hispanic forest landowners across the United States. Despite increasing attention to diversity in forestry, there have been limited national studies of racial and ethnic minority family forest owners in the U.S.  Most programs and policies have focused on nonminority family forest owners’ statistics. The National Woodland Owner Survey estimates that minority owners own 5.1 percent of the family forestland in the U.S; 10.5 million acres and comprise 209,000 owners.

Highlights include:

  • There are more than an estimated 17,000 Hispanic forest-landowners across the United States, excluding Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.
  • There are eight states (California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Washington) that are considered high potential for effective outreach and development, as determined by a predictive model that incorporates the number of woodland owners, number of Hispanic forestry producers, and the percent of Hispanic population in a county, as well as the historical background associated with those states

Phase Two of the study will focus on these eight states for culturally appropriate outreach, gathering information on barriers to wealth creation and sustainable forestry implementation.

The study was conducted as a partnership between the Endowment, Region 8 of the USDA Forest Service and mano-Y-ola, a Hispanic and woman co-owned consulting firm specializing in research, data analysis, and education and training services.

“Strong partnerships like this help us work together to further understand forest land ownership across the nation,” said Alicia Cramer, Endowment Senior Vice President. “This is vital information as we try to determine how to best support the needs of these landowners.”

“We are happy to have a part in this work because the Forest Service supports landowners to keep forests healthy, diverse and productive for generations to come,” said Southern Regional Forester Ken Arney. “Land is culturally significant to many individuals. This multi-phase project will help improve rural development practices and partnerships with Hispanic forest landowners.”

A copy of the full report can be found here.

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Media Contact
Brandon Walters, Communications and Administrative Coordinator, brandon@usendowment.org; (864) 233-7646.

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.

The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund Announces its 2022 Grant Recipients

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (September 20, 2022)

Greenville, SC and Bethesda, MD – The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund (the Fund) today announced the recipients of its 2022 grants. The projects funded this year will help conserve more than 3,000 acres and protect ecologically sensitive bottomland hardwood forests in the Virginia-North Carolina coastal plains.

Including those announced today, the Fund has awarded 29 projects totaling more than $3,100,000 in grants over the past seven years. An estimated 33,000 acres will be protected when these projects reach completion. The forests conserved as a part of the Fund help clean drinking water, purify the air, buffer structures from storms, and provide habitat for many species of wildlife, while at the same time, providing jobs and economic opportunity for rural families and private landowners.

“The fund is well on its way to achieving its initial goal to protect over 35,000 acres of sensitive bottomland hardwood forests across Virginia and South Carolina,” said Thomas Meth, President of Enviva. “With more than three years left in the program, the Fund is poised to partner with more and more diverse conservation groups as well as supersede our commitment to long-term investments in forest stewardship for generations to come.”

The 2022 Enviva Forest Conservation Fund grant recipients include:

The Tar River Land Conservancy: Tar River Land Conservancy aims to purchase the Bowers Tract, consisting of 244 forested acres and 60 acres of agricultural upland fields. Fifty-four percent (219 acres) of the property is situated within the 100-year-old floodplain of Swift Creek, a major tributary of the Tar River. Adjoining the property, Swift Creek provides a habitat for numerous rare, threatened, and endangered aquatic species, including the federally protected Carolina Madtom, Tar River Spiny Mussel, and Neuse River Waterdog.

A section of the Bowers Tract

Three Rivers Land Conservancy: Three Rivers Land Conservancy aims to acquire 440 acres of bottomland hardwood forest adjacent to the Little River and Uwharrie National Forest in Montgomery County, North Carolina. The Little River Buffer and Cliffs natural areas are located on the property. Federally endangered Northern Long Eared Bat and the threatened Oak Toad, Alewife, and Blue Back Herring are all present within this forest acreage.

Little River in Montgomery County, North Carolina

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation: The Virginia Outdoors Foundation aims to acquire the Turner Tract which lies on the state scenic Nottoway River near Cary’s Bridge. This tract contains 134 acres of bottomland hardwoods (111 acres of general hardwoods and 23 acres of Cypress-Tupelo) which will be designated as “old growth” as well as hundreds of acres of working forest. This land contributes to the protected corridor on the Nottoway River and its conservation will support the effort to protect this unique and fragile Virginia resource with a “National Wild and Scenic River” designation. The balance of the tract will remain in working forest and/or agricultural use.

A section of the Turner Tract

The Conservation Fund: The Conservation Fund will protect 1,915 acres dominated by native bottomland hardwoods, forested wetlands, and loblolly pine along the Nottoway River in Sussex County, Virginia. This project will add to the corridor of protected land along the Nottoway River with 3.5 miles of frontage along the Nottoway where federally endangered Roanoke Logperch and Dwarf Wedge Mussel are found. The property also features 2.5 miles of frontage on Black Branch Swamp, where over 220 acres of forested wetlands and 400 acres of bottomland hardwoods reside. Sustainable forest management and restoration to native longleaf pine and pine savanna on the property will help create a habitat for endangered species such as the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker. Once transferred to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, the property will be open for hunting, hiking, fishing, boating, and wildlife watching.

Forest along the Nottoway River in Sussex County, Virginia

Ducks Unlimited: Ducks Unlimited aims to acquire a total of 292 acres in Bertie and Gates counties in North Carolina, under two separate tracts – the Crawford Tract and the Gasking Swamp Tract. The Crawford Tract is home to the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker and will expand the adjacent (on 3 sides) Chowan Swamp Game Land, which is located in one of the most important river basins for anadromous fishes in North Carolina. The Gasking Swamp Tract will expand the adjacent Bertie County Game Land, which helps protect portions of the Cashie River Swamps’ small creeks, floodplain wetlands, and Significant Natural Heritage Areas. These tracts provide important travel corridors for black bears along the Cashie River and are recognized as a “Global Important Bird Area.”

Gasking Swamp Tract – Tidal Swamp Forest

Crawford Tract – Nonalluvial Mineral Wetland

“The Endowment continues to support the efforts of the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund. These long-term investments promote conservation, biological diversity, and ecosystem sustainability in these areas of North Carolina and Virginia,” said Teal Edelen, Program Officer at the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. “These grants support sources of clean air and water, protect threatened wildlife and plant life, and provide great opportunities for recreation in these areas.”

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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 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.

For more information, contact:

Brandon Walters, Communications and Administrative Coordinator at the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. 864.233.7646; brandon@usendowment.org.

U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities Announces Membership of the Forest and Wood Products Inclusion Council

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (July 28, 2022)

Greenville, SC – The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) announced today the membership of their recently formed Forest and Wood Products Inclusion Council, an initiative to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the forest sector. 

The Inclusion Council was formed to bring forest sector leaders together with experts in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to address racial and gender inequities in the sector. The Council includes representatives from public, private, not-for-profit, academic, and Indigenous organizations in the forest sector. Led by the Endowment, the initiative draws upon the expertise of Katie Fernholz at Dovetail Partners, Bethaney Wilkinson at the Diversity Gap, and Kelly Cooper at the Centre for Social Intelligence. Together, this group of sector leaders will work collaboratively within their spheres of influence and develop a National Action Plan that aims to establish a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture in the U.S. forest and wood products sector. 

“A bright future for the U.S. forest and wood products sector requires a diverse and inclusive workforce. This needed cultural shift will create long-lasting effects beyond the term of this project. When we foster the growth and professional development of underrepresented voices and perspectives, our sector can only strengthen and that, in turn, can benefit our people and our forests,” said Alicia Cramer, Senior Vice President at the Endowment and co-chair of the initiative.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and its 2019 American Community survey states women account for just 21% of the U.S. forest sector, which includes forestry, logging, and manufacturing. Four percent are Native American, three percent are Black, and two percent are Asian. These percentages are even lower at the executive levels. To better compete in today’s global market and meet labor market demands, this must change. This Council will focus on collecting better data to understand DEI trends in the sector; attracting, retaining, and advancing underrepresented groups; and building awareness and access to create an equitable workforce and workplace.

“A diverse workforce is a critical component of our sector’s ability to confront the challenges facing our nation’s forests and improve the environmental and economic benefits they provide,” shares Shannon McCabe, Council Member.  “The data clearly shows a need for action, and I look forward to working alongside fellow Council members to establish a path toward a culture of inclusion and equity within the forest sector.”

Members of the Inclusion Council include:
Terry Baker, Society of American Foresters (Council co-chair)
Alicia Cramer, U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Council co-chair)
Don Calloway, Enviva
Angela Coleman, USDA Forest Service
Sam Cook, North Carolina State University
Asia Dowtin, Michigan State University
Cody Desautel, Intertribal Timber Council
Kate Gatto, National Alliance of Forest Owners
Deb Hawkinson, Forest Resources Association
Rita Hite, American Forest Foundation
Jennifer Jenkins, NCX
Shannon McCabe, Association of Consulting Foresters of America
Colin Moseley, Green Diamond Resource Company
Tiffanie Starr, Timberland Investment Resources
Jennie Stephens, Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation
De’Etra Young, Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS)

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Members at the Inclusion Council’s initial meeting in Washington, DC, March 2022


Media Contact
Brandon Walters, Communications and Administrative Coordinator. (864) 233-7646; brandon@usendowment.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.

Endowment Receives $250,000 from USDA Forest Service to Study Wood Blockchain Development and Deployment through ForesTrust

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (July 26, 2022)

Greenville, SC – The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) has been awarded a $250,000 grant through the 2022 USDA Forest Service Wood Innovations Grant Program.

The award, matched by $250,000 from the Endowment, will fund a collaboration between the Endowment and Michigan State University Forest Carbon and Climate Program (MSU FCCP) to develop and deploy ForesTrust, a cost-effective blockchain network to accurately and efficiently track wood and wood fiber from forest to consumer. Simultaneously, MSU FCCP will investigate methodologies for accurately tracking stored carbon through the value chain, which will be incorporated into ForesTrust technology.

“We are thrilled to be in partnership with the Wood Innovations Grant Program on this project, which will employ blockchain technology to the benefit of the entire wood products industry,” said Teal Edelen, Program Officer at the Endowment. “The Endowment’s collaboration with Michigan State University will allow the wood products industry to accurately and securely track products through the supply chain, account for carbon stored, and demonstrate the chain of custody of wood and forest products through verifiable data.”

The Wood Innovations Grants Program, launched in 2015, stimulates and expands wood products and wood energy markets. National focus areas include mass timber, renewable wood energy, and technological development that supports fuel reduction and sustainable forest management.

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Media Contact
Brandon Walters, Communications and Administrative Coordinator. (864) 233-7646; brandon@usendowment.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.

Virginia Department of Forestry and Enviva Forest Conservation Fund Protect Important Tract of Nottoway River Corridor


For IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Greenville, SC (June 15, 2022) – An important watershed forest along the Nottoway River in Southampton County, Virginia, will now be permanently conserved thanks in part to a grant from the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund. The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) has secured permanent conservation easements within the Nottoway River corridor on more than 838 acres, including 791 acres of working forest stands. The Nottoway Properties tract includes over 2.5 miles of frontage on the scenic Nottoway River, 600 acres of wetlands including approximately 200 acres of high-quality Cypress Tupelo, and about 400 acres of mixed typical Piedmont bottomland hardwoods. Additionally, the uplands portion of the tract is in pine plantation under management as a long-term working forest.

“The conservation of this property achieves several goals. Thanks to the support from Enviva and The Nature Conservancy, over 2.5 miles of the scenic Nottoway River are protected from development, and visitors will always be able to enjoy the natural beauty of the river. This land will be preserved and managed indefinitely as forest, rather than being converted to agriculture or other non-forest uses, supporting critical wildlife and habitat,” said Karl Didler, Forestland Conservation Program Manager with the VDOF. “Finally, a portion of the tract will continue to be managed as pine plantation, sustainably supporting the wood products industry while protecting Virginia’s water resources while protecting Virginia’s water quality,” Scheps concluded.

Currently, the property is home to numerous habitats, plant and animal species, including the federally threatened yellow lamp mussel (lampsilis cariosa) and the northern long-eared bat (myotis septenrionalis). This easement contributes another parcel to the National Scenic Nottoway River project, and a larger portion of the property is within the 100-year floodplain. Conservation will ensure that the water quality of the Nottoway River and other streams on the property are protected from sedimentation and pollution, especially during flood events.

“We are very pleased to contribute to the growing conservation corridor on the state scenic Nottoway River. We are happy to join the many other landowners who have chosen to protect our river here in Southampton County for future generations” said Clay Porter, the owner of the property.

“This is an important addition as work continues to conserve the Nottoway River corridor,” said Alicia Cramer, Senior Vice President of the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities. “This project is a significant piece of the Nottoway River protection effort, critical to supporting the important cultural, economic, and environmental contributions of this special area.”

The Fund’s goal is to be a catalyst for forest and habitat conservation in North Carolina and Virginia. More than five years into the planned 10-year partnership, 25 projects have been funded with a total commitment approaching $2.3 million, including today’s announcement. When these projects are completed, the Fund will have helped protect an estimated 30,024 acres of sensitive wetland forest and other habitats.

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About the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund
The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund is a $5 million, 10-year program established by Enviva Inc., in December 2015 to protect environmentally sensitive bottomland and wetland forests. Administered by the US 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 Department of Forestry
The Virginia Department of Forestry protects and develops healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians. With nearly 16 million acres of forestland and more than 108,000 Virginians employed in forestry, forest products, and related industries, Virginia forests provide an overall economic output of more than $21 billion annually.  Headquartered in Charlottesville, Va. the agency has forestry staff members assigned to every county to provide citizen service and public safety protection across the Commonwealth, which it’s been doing now for more than 100 years. VDOF is an equal opportunity provider. Learn more: www.dof.virginia.gov.

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.

For more information, contact:
Brandon Walters, Communications and Administrative Coordinator, (864) 233-7646, brandon@usendowment.org

North Carolina Coastal Land Trust and Enviva Forest Conservation Fund Protect Historic Wetlands of the Albemarle-Pamlico Estuary

View of Keel Creek.  Photo courtesy of Tom Earnhardt.

Greenville, S.C. — January 10, 2022 – A nearly 800-acre property in Bertie and Hertford Counties in North Carolina has been permanently conserved thanks to a purchase by the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, with assistance from The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund.

Located in the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system, which is congressionally designated as “an estuary of national significance”, it is recognized as a nationally important resource through its more recent listing as one of “America’s Great Waters.” The property provides critical habitat for fish, wildlife, and waterfowl and supports a $1 billion fishing and ecotourism industry that is dependent upon clean water and healthy, functional habitats. With three miles of frontage along the Chowan River and seven miles of frontage along Keel Creek, the property is 85-90% cypress-tupelo forest (or ~650 acres) and the remaining 10-15 % is bottomland hardwood forest (100+ acres).   

Locally known as the Cumtuck Tract, this project represents a vital conservation acquisition.  “We are very proud of the Coastal Land Trust’s recent purchase of land along the Chowan River as it has significant importance, not only in terms of acres protected, but also for the fact that it conserves almost all of Keel Creek from its mouth at the Chowan River in Bertie County to its headwaters in Hertford County,” said Janice Allen, Director of Land Protection at the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust. The forested wetlands on this property have many trees over 100 years old with countless thick buttressed cypress and swamp tupelo trees.

The property is located north of the Town of Colerain and features the heart of Cow Island Swamp, a site identified as “ecologically significant” by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program due to the age and expanse of its mature bald cypress and tupelo gum forest. This project contributes to conserving forested wetlands in the watershed, particularly bottomland hardwood and cypress-gum swamp, rare species, and natural communities, while also helping to protect water quality in the region.

“Wetlands, amongst the world’s most economically and environmentally valuable ecosystems and essential regulators of the global climate, are disappearing three times faster than forests,” said Alicia Cramer, senior vice president of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. “This acquisition will not only help with flood management and water quality efforts but will contribute to the region’s climate resiliency,” added Cramer.    

The Chowan River has also been classified as a highly ecologically significant aquatic site due to the presence of several rare fish, mollusk, and crayfish species. The forested wetlands of the Cumtuck Tract provide essential nursery areas for anadromous fish, including Atlantic sturgeon, a federally endangered species, and provide habitat for listed freshwater mussel species and rare crayfish. Numerous bird species nest and/or overwinter in the Chowan River bottomlands, and the forested wetlands along the Chowan River from Colerain to Parkers Ferry have been identified as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. 

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 the North Carolina Coast Land Trust

The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust enriches coastal communities of North Carolina through conservation of natural areas and working lands, education, and the promotion of good land stewardship. Founded in 1992, the Coastal Land Trust has saved more than 84,000 acres of places with scenic, recreational, historic and/or ecological value, and has offices in Wilmington, New Bern and Elizabeth City. www.CoastalLandTrust.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.

For more information, contact:

Brandon Walters, Communications and Administrative Coordinator, (864) 233-7646, brandon@usendowment.org

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