PAC helps protect 100 acres in December

Published 10:00 pm Monday, January 11, 2016

N. Pacolet River (Photo by Pam Torlina)

N. Pacolet River (Photo by Pam Torlina)

In 2015, the Pacolet Area Conservancy was able to help four area landowners realize their dream of protecting their land in perpetuity, through voluntary conservation easements. Conservation easements were placed on two properties in Polk County and one in Rutherford County in North Carolina and one property in Spartanburg County and one in Greenville County in South Carolina, protecting nearly 100 acres in western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina.

Each of these properties is unique, with its own character, habitat, and conservation values.

The protection of these lands ensures the appropriate habitat in permanency for at least 100 species of birds, one listed by the state of North Carolina as special concern and one as significantly rare; over 100 species of plants, one listed by the federal government and the state of North Carolina as threatened; at least 11 species of reptiles; a minimum of 16 species of mammals; and at least seven species of amphibians.

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Habitat protected includes nearly 40 acres of greenspace, pasture, farmland some of which is considered “prime farmland” or “farmland of statewide importance,” hayfields, etc., approximately 60 acres of maturing native forest, a four-acre pond, watershed protection and riparian buffers to nearly a quarter mile of river, creek and stream.

Watershed protection includes the safeguard of another 940 feet of the banks of the North Pacolet River, as well as the land around three tributaries to the North Pacolet River, over 6,840 feet. The addition of one property has added to the protection of the North Pacolet River; jointly, conservation easements protect one side of the North Pacolet River, contiguously, for 16,600 feet or 3.14 miles. The addition of another property has added to the protection of Hughes Creek; collectively, conservation easements create a riparian buffer along 8,924.56 feet or 1.69 miles, of the western side of Hughes Creek.

Additionally, the land around 1,100 feet of tributaries to other waterways, the South Pacolet River and the Broad River, has also been permanently protected. These vegetated riparian buffers are important in the protection of water quality. Riparian buffers slow and filter runoff water, causing sediment to settle out and be deposited in the buffer and not in waterways.

Two of these conservation easements were made possible thanks to grants made available through the Conservation Trust for North Carolina’s (CTNC) Money in the Ground Program, the grant provided money to help these North Carolina landowners with the costs associated with protecting their land with a conservation easement, such as a survey of the property, attorney costs, appraisal costs, and long-term stewardship needs.

PAC staff, volunteers, and each landowner worked diligently to complete each conservation easement, which would lay out the future use and non-use of each property based on each landowner’s wishes for the future of their land.

PAC is grateful for a terrific year in 2015. The organization protected nearly 100 acres of land either with voluntary conservation easements or by ownership last year, bringing the total number of acres that the organization has helped to protect in our area up to nearly 8,700.

Thank you to all of those that have helped to make this accomplishment possible.  PAC looks forward to another great year in 2016. If you are interested in learning more about PAC, voluntary conservation easements, and/or CTNC grants please contact the PAC office by phone at 828-859-5060, e-mail, stop by 850 N. Trade St. in Tryon, or visit


-Submitted by Pam Torlina