Three Rivers Land Trust and The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund Protect Little River Bottomland Hardwoods

View of the 440 acre tract recently put under easement in Montgomery County, NC. Photo by Emily Callicutt.

Three Rivers Land Trust and The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund Protect 440 Acres Along Little River, Montgomery County, North Carolina

Greenville, S.C. — January 12, 2024 –  Two separate tracts, jointly known as the Little River Thickety Creek tract, encompassing over 440 acres of bottomland hardwood forest situated along the Little River and Uwharrie National Forest in Montgomery County, North Carolina, have been permanently protected, thanks in part to a grant provided by the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund (EFCF), which  enabled Three Rivers Land Trust to acquire a conservation easement on the property and safeguard these tracts, including a variety of habitats.

“Thanks to funding from the NC Land and Water Fund, the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, these 440 acres on the pristine Little River will remain free from development for the enjoyment of future generations, and species like bald eagles, river otters, great blue herons, little green herons, beaver, cormorant, white tailed deer, a plethora of Neotropical migratory songbirds, and many other species can continue to make their homes here on the Little River,” said Crystal Cockman, Associate Director Three Rivers Land Trust.

Currently, the site hosts habitat for two threatened species: the Carolina redhorse, and Villosa delumbis, a mussel species also known as the Eastern Creekshell. This stretch of the Little River is classified as the Yadkin/Upper Little River Aquatic Habitat natural area with a very high rating as determined by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program.

“The Little River Thickety Creek tract represents the high ecological value of bottomland hardwood forests in the coastal plain of North Carolina,” said Teal Edelen, Program Officer at the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. “Critical habitat, water quality benefits, and flood mitigation will persist thanks to these easements.”

“It’s an honor to be able to protect this important property which can now serve as a safe haven to threatened species and habitats, while also permanently preserving a precious woodland. Our collaboration advances our commitment to conservation and biodiversity demonstrating the power of partnership,” said Brandi Colander, Chief Sustainability Officer at Enviva.

The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund’s goal is to be a catalyst for investments in forest and habitat conservation in southeast Virginia and North Carolina’s coastal plain. The Fund has completed its eighth year of the planned 10-year partnership, with 31 projects funded with a total commitment of over $3.8 million, including the project announced today. When these projects are completed, the Fund will have helped protect an estimated 36,000 acres of sensitive wetland forests and other habitats.

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

About Three Rivers Land Trust:

Three Rivers Land Trust works to protect and conserve land, natural areas, rural landscapes, family farms, and historic places within North Carolina’s Central Piedmont and Sandhills. 

Learn more:

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

Media Contacts:

Aleta Rogers, U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (; 864-233-7646)

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