Every day local land trusts across North Carolina protect water quality, fresh local foods, healthy communities, scenic vistas, and outdoor recreation through land conservation. These projects are bolstered by the support of landowners, private donors, federal, state and local governments, and foundations. Even then, the costs of completing the deals and stewarding properties over the long term can add up. That’s why the Conservation Trust for North Carolina has created three grant programs to help NC land trusts cover the necessary “transaction costs” involved with protecting a property: surveys, appraisals, environmental assessments, baseline documentation reports, legal fees, closing costs, and staff time, as well as future monitoring, stewardship, and legal defense expenses.

Our Mountain Revolving Loan Fund grant program supports conservation projects in the mountains. The Piedmont-Coast grants program supports conservation projects in the Piedmont, Sandhills and coastal regions. The Farmland Forever Fund helps pay for transaction costs incurred when working farms are conserved, regardless of region.

In 2015, CTNC awarded 28 grants totaling $361,655 to 12 local land trusts. The grants supported 14 land acquisitions and 14 conservation easements that will permanently protect 1,306 acres in the mountains, 334 acres in the Piedmont and coast, and 844 acres of farmland.

We awarded a grant to Catawba Lands Conservancy to support their Pumpkin Creek Preserve along the Rocky River in Stanly County.  This project will protect water quality and provide public access to the river via a blueway launch site along the Carolina Thread Trail.

We also awarded Piedmont Land Conservancy a grant for their Ingram project, which adjoins Pilot Mountain State Park in Surry County. Protecting this property will provide a much-needed access point to the park from the north, connecting residents from the Town of Pilot Mountain, and will benefit water quality in Pilot Creek.

Another grant was awarded to Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) for their Bresnahan project in Transylvania County. This one-acre project had an enormous impact on conservation of rare habitat in western NC, as it was the linchpin in helping the US Fish and Wildlife Service secure a $750,000 grant, while also protecting a parcel that contains habitat for green salamanders. Peg and Dan Bresnahan’s gift to CMLC and the availability and flexibility of the Conservation Trust’s grant program enabled the USFWS to secure a sizable grant that will permanently protect the endangered mountain sweet pitcher plant and other mountain bog species on nearby properties.

CTNC is proud to help local land trusts complete these projects that provide access to clean water, local foods and the outdoors, support local economies, and protect the unique places we love in North Carolina.