The N.C. Natural Heritage Trust Fund recently awarded four grants totaling $679,380 to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to support the expansion or establishment of plant conservation preserves in the state. Plant conservation preserves are designed to protect imperiled plants and their natural habitats.
We asked Rob Evans, plant ecologist with the department’s Plant Conservation Program, about the four preserves that will benefit from the NHTF grants. The grant amounts and project descriptions are below:
- $210,000 for Tater Hill Preserve in Watauga County. This funding will be used to purchase an additional 40 acres for the preserve, which is the largest in the North Carolina mountains. Evans says the preserve is considered a nationally significant site containing a number of imperiled plants, including tall larkspur, bent avens and long-stalked holly.
- $230,880 for Hebron Road Preserve in Durham County. The grant will make it possible for the program to purchase an additional 40 acres for the preserve, which is home to the imperiled smooth coneflower and narrow-leaf aster. The addition will help protect one of the highest-ranking parcels identified to protect the Raleigh water supply.
- $110,000 to add 43 acres to the Eastwood Preserve in Moore County, which aims to protect the endangered sandhills lily.
- $128,500 to purchase 16 acres to establish the Rocky River/Morgans Bluff Preserve in Stanly County. The land is known to harbor three imperiled plant species. One of these, Wright’s cliffbrake, is found in only two sites east of the Mississippi River.
The Natural Heritage Trust Fund was established in 1987 to provide supplemental funding to select state agencies for the acquisition and protection of important natural areas, preserve the state’s ecological diversity and cultural heritage, and inventory the natural heritage resources of the state. The trust fund is supported by 25 percent of the state’s portion of the tax on real estate deed transfers and a portion of the fees for personalized license plates. The trust fund is housed within the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
For more information about NCDA&CS’ plant conservation work, see these previous posts: