Three Rivers Land Trust acquires conservation easement on 80 acres of bottomland hardwood forest in North Carolina; NC Land and Water Fund, Enviva Forest Conservation Fund provide funding to buy Lucky Branch tract, which is part of a 520-acre easement

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GREENVILLE, South Carolina , May 2, 2023 (press release) –


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

Three Rivers Land Trust and The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund Protect 80 acres along Little River, Montgomery County, North Carolina


The Lucky Branch tract, an 80-acre parcel of bottomland hardwood forest situated next to the Little River and Uwharrie National Forest in Montgomery County, North Carolina, has been conserved, thanks in part to a generous grant provided by the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund. This grant enabled Three Rivers Land Trust to acquire a conservation easement on the property and safeguard the tract, which is part of a larger 520-acre easement, encompassing a variety of habitats.

“Thanks to funding from the NC Land and Water Fund, the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund, and a generous easement donation by the landowner, these 80 acres on the pristine Little River will remain free from development and maintained as a beautiful hardwood forest for the enjoyment of future generations,” 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.

“Bottomland hardwood forests provide a wide range of ecological, economic, and cultural benefits to North Carolina, making them an important part of the state's natural heritage,” said Teal Edelen, Program Officer at the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. “The Lucky Branch tract protects a high-quality parcel of this forestland forever, contributing to that legacy.”

“As responsible forest stewards, we are passionate for developing and implementing climate action solutions while also safeguarding precious environments, as are the bottomlands of the Lucky Branch tract,” said Brandi Colander, Chief Sustainability Officer at Enviva. “We couldn’t be prouder of supporting the protection of this important ecosystem, which is thriving with biodiversity and serves as a nurturing environment for many fish and mussel species, while also protecting the area from flooding and other extreme events.”

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 plains. As the fund enters its eighth year of the planned 10-year partnership, 31 projects have been 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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