Grants available for land conservation in 2014 through PAC

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It’s not too late to take advantage of grants available to help protect land and watersheds in 2014.  Landowners interested in learning more about protecting their property and streams with a custom-made conservation easement are encouraged to contact the Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), the local land trust that will apply for grants on behalf of the landowner.
A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust, or government agency, which permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect the conservation values on the property.  Landowners continue to own and use their land, and the land can also be sold or passed on to heirs. Each conservation easement is personalized to reflect the wishes of the landowner.
The North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF) has grants of up to $25,000 available for private landowners to permanently preserve and protect their land.  The land must adjoin or include a river or stream and establish a stream buffer of at least 50′, with the purpose of protecting and benefiting water quality.
The Conservation Trust for North Carolina (CTNC) also has grants of up to $25,000 available to help landowners protect their land with a conservation easement.  CTNC grants do not require protection of streams and/or rivers; however, the property must contain sufficient conservation value (which might include significant wildlife and plant habitat, stream banks, farmland, or scenic or cultural lands, etc.).
Conservation easements (or agreements) resulting from these grants must be held by a non-profit land trust or local unit of government, such as PAC.  Grant funding can cover the cost of surveys, recording fees, title insurance or title opinion, stewardship endowment, baseline documentation report, project administration cost, and legal fees.
PAC Executive Director, Mary Walter, says, “We are fortunate, indeed, to have these funds available to us to further our land conservation efforts, here in the Polk County area.  PAC has a long history preserving diverse lands.  These particular grants will help protect the land and water quality.”
“We encourage landowners who are interested in protecting their land to call our office to inquire about these grants and/or other land protection ideas; however, these grants are only available for this calendar year.  If a landowner is interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, they will have to contact PAC as soon as possible; the conservation easement process can take many months.”
PAC is a proud member of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, Blue Ridge Forever, and The Land Trust Alliance (LTA) whose standards and practices guide the work we do.
To date, PAC has helped protect over 8,532 acres of land.  PAC holds 66 conservation easements and owns 25 tracts of land in fee-simple, creating a treasury of mountains, rivers, streams, farmlands, forests, and greenspace – land that will be forever preserved.
The Pacolet Area Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit land trust founded in 1989 to protect and conserve natural resources, with emphasis on lands and waterways with scenic, ecological, and agricultural significance in the North Pacolet and Green River watersheds.  PAC works with area landowners to ensure the long-term protection of their property through voluntary conservation easements (agreements) which enable landowners to maintain ownership of their property while preserving precious natural resources – open lands, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, farmland, stream banks, and more.
PAC – saving the places you love.
– article submitted
by Pam Torlina

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