CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund (OHCF) recently approved three projects in its first round of grant funding. A total of $599,586 was awarded to the Pendleton County Farmland Protection Board, the Greenbrier County Farmland Protection Board and the National Committee for the New River. Together, these projects will protect 566 acres of prime agricultural and forested land.
“The projects funded by the Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund will help protect farm and forest lands from development and safeguard important habitat,” Gov. Tomblin said. “Conservation efforts such as these help keep West Virginia wild and wonderful for this and future generations.”
The awards include:
$372,311 to the Pendleton County Farmland Protection Board to purchase a conservation easement on a 210 acre farm, enabling the protection of the Mullenax Cave and Mullenax Water Cave. The caves contain a highly imperiled isopod known as Caecidotea sinuncus. Globally, there are five or fewer populations of this crustacean.
$138,275 to the Greenbrier County Farmland Protection Board to purchase a conservation easement on a 95 acre farm and riparian area adjacent to Spring Creek, a stream that is threatened by commercial logging activity and commercial wind farm development.
$89,000 to the National Committee for the New River to purchase a conservation easement and land-in-fee on 261 acres overlooking the Greenbrier River and connecting lands. These lands feature abundant conservation values found in headwater mountain streams and large intact forest blocks, including areas in the Monongahela National Forest and numerous state forests and parks.
"The OHCF Board of Trustees is very excited to extend this first round of grant funds to these deserving recipients. For the first time, West Virginia's nonprofit land protection groups have access to state funds that will help them preserve our state's unique and special landscapes. We look forward to working with the land trust community in the future as we partner with them to promote voluntary land protection in West Virginia," said OHCF Chair David Warner.
The West Virginia Legislature created the OHCF in 2008 to invest in the conservation of unique and important wildlife habitat, natural areas, forest lands, farmland, and lands for hunting, fishing and recreation. The fund is used to acquire interest in real property for conservation in keeping with the Wildlife Conservation Action Plan or other conservation plans and to award competitive grants for conservation purposes to eligible recipients.
For more information about the OHCF, visit www.wvohcf.org
David Warner, Chair, West Virginia Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund