November 6, 2017 -- Virginia Outdoors Foundation Protects 408-acre Floodplain Forest
A donated conservation easement will protect from development a prime, 408-acre bottomland hardwood forest and help demonstrate the compatibility of wetland forest management and biodiversity conservation. Protecting this tract will also preserve scenic viewsheds along the Meherrin River in Southampton County, Virginia. The project was completed with a grant from the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund that helped cover administrative costs associated with the easement and also long-term stewardship monitoring expenses.
“Our family has had a footprint on that locality for nearly 200 years,” said landowner Dr. James Rawles. “We have raised four sons with much of our leisure time spent in hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities in the bottomlands along the Meherrin River. Watching the ducks fly in and out of the beaver-flooded timber at dawn and dusk, exploring the magnificent forests, hearing the turkeys gobble off the roost at daybreak, and paddling the logjammed Meherrin has been a profound testament to the majesty and complexity of creation to all of us.”
When Dr. Rawles learned from The Nature Conservancy about easements as a tool for protecting the family’s forests, he added, “It resonated deeply with all of us.”
November 1, 2017 -- 2018 Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program ChallengeRequest for Pre-Proposals
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) today announced that it is accepting pre-proposals for the 2018 Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program Challenge. The Request for Pre-Proposals and the downloadable PDF pre-proposal form are available on the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Community’s (the Endowment) webpage or by contacting Peter@usendowment.org. The deadline for pre-proposal submission is 8 p.m. EST, Friday, January 26, 2018. Up to $15 million is available for one or multiple awards. Final awards are planned to be announced in July of 2018.
The REPI Challenge, established in 2012, is a competitive process to seek projects that accelerate land conservation and military mission protection efforts through innovative partnerships and shared financing...
October 9, 2017 -- 2018 Enviva Forest Conservation Fund Request for Proposals and Expanded NC Eligibility
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) today released the 2018 Request for Proposals for the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund. Up to $500,000 is available for grants to protect bottomland hardwood and other wetland forests in eastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia. The new Request for Proposals more than doubles the number of North Carolina counties eligible for project funding.
“One of our goals is to continually enhance the impact of the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund for forest landowners and for wetland forest protection,” said Carlton Owen, the Endowment’s President and CEO. “After consulting with experts, the decision was made to more than double the number of North Carolina counties eligible to receive funding. This will increase the number of landowners who may participate in the program and also increase collaboration with programs such as the Sentinel Landscape Partnership.”
“After more than a year of study and deliberation the five members of the Blue Ribbon Commission empaneled by the Endowment have completed their work and released their findings,” said Endowment President & CEO Carlton Owen. “On behalf of the Endowment and all who are concerned about the health and productivity of our nation’s precious forests, as well as the myriad benefits they provide from drinking water to vital wood and paper products, we want to thank the members of the Commission for their hard work and insightful recommendations.”
Among the report’s findings are that forest sector R&D in America is unfocused and underfunded. To address shortcomings the BRC recommended changes and enhancements to spur innovation including:
Development of a “national” R&D plan across USDA Forest Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy along with forest sector input that avoids wasteful duplication and sets a clear direction for the future; and,
Institution of a new model where federal scientists serve more as team leaders engaging private sector, university, and federal researchers to increase speed, flexibility, and delivery of needed solutions.
October 4, 2017 -- African American Forest Owners Benefit from Industry Partnership
Enviva Holdings, LP today announced a $45,000 grant to support African American land retention and healthy forests in northeastern North Carolina. The grant to the Sustainable Forestry Program of the Roanoke Center—a nonprofit affiliate of the Roanoke Electric Cooperative headquartered in Ahoskie, North Carolina—deepens the existing partnership between Enviva, the Roanoke Center, and the U. S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment). That program serves forest owners in seven counties in the Cooperative’s service region and near two of Enviva’s wood pellet facilities.
“Sustainably managed working forests are the lifeblood of many North Carolina communities and the environment we all share,” said Dr. Jennifer Jenkins, Enviva’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “This project has done exceptional work helping hundreds of families restore their land rights and conserve working forests.”
“We’ve enjoyed supporting the project’s outreach efforts over the years, and are very excited to foster their broader education, legal assistance, and forest management missions,” Jenkins added.
The Roanoke Center is the community economic development arm of the Roanoke Electric Cooperative, a 14,500 member cooperative. “We are very pleased to have Enviva join us in the effort to boost sustainable forestry in northeastern North Carolina,” said Curtis Wynn, Roanoke Electric’s CEO. “Their generous investment will change family dynamics and economic prospects in our region for generations to come.”
September 12, 2017 -- North Carolina Coastal Land Trust Protects 1,000 Acre Flooplain Forest
Nearly 1,000 acres of cypress-gum swamp, bottomland hardwoods, tidal freshwater marsh, and upland mixed pine forest in Bertie County, North Carolina, is now permanently protected through a fee title acquisition negotiated by the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, based in Wilmington. The property includes four miles of frontage on Salmon Creek and the Albemarle Sound. The property’s riparian forests are classified as ecologically significant by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program. The project was completed with a grant from the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund and a loan from The Conservation Fund.
“This investment by the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund complements the State of North Carolina and the Coastal Land Trust efforts to support the Bertie County Board of Commissioners’ quest to provide a destination for ecotourism, a historical learning environment, and a vast recreational venue for residents and visitors alike,” said Bertie County Manager Scott Sauer. “This will enhance the County’s partnership with the public school system to provide students with field study and science-based, “out of the classroom,” experiences in their own community.”
August 7, 2017 -- Virginia Department of Conservation Protects Forested Wetland
A new conservation easement on 130 acres of forested wetland will help protect more than one mile of frontage on the Nottoway River, a State Scenic River. The Nottoway River is a major source of drinking water for the citizens of the Hampton Roads region. The property is in the Albemarle Sound watershed and the mature cypress-tupelo swamp conserved as a result of this project will provide habitat for migratory waterfowl, songbirds and other wildlife. The project was completed with financial assistance from an Enviva Forest Conservation Fund grant.
“The Nottoway River and surrounding swamplands and timberlands are tantamount to sacred for me,” said Richard Railey, the landowner who placed the easement on his property. “I spend my life in and around the Nottoway River. As a child, I swam in it, fished in it and hunted around it. I loved placing an easement on this property. Perhaps what I’ve enjoyed and appreciated so much in my life will now be available for future generations. There are few things that I have done in my life that have given me greater satisfaction than completing this conservation easement,” he continued.
August 1, 2017 -- Promotion and New Hires Expand Endowment's Capacity
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) today announced staffing changes to expand the organization’s capacity and enhance sustainability to serve its dual mission of keeping working forests as forests and advancing family-wage jobs in rural, forest-rich communities.
“As we enter our second decade of service as the nation’s largest public charity addressing the forest sector space, we remain among the most leanly-staffed organizations of our peer group,” said Endowment President & CEO Carlton Owen. “We’ve worked hard to develop a partnership and leverage model that directs the lion’s share of our financial resources to advance our work on the ground. These changes will slightly increase staffing to position us well for the future.”
Changes effective today are:
Peter Stangel, who has been with the Endowment as Senior Vice President leading the programmatic team since 2010, will become Chief Operating Officer. In this new role Stangel will retain a significant program portfolio while also taking on added administrative responsibilities. He will remain in Aiken, SC, with increasing work at the organization’s Greenville, SC headquarters.
Alicia Cramer, currently a member of the Endowment’s Board of Directors and formerly Vice President of The Westervelt Company in Alabama, will assume the Senior Vice President role. Cramer comes to the Endowment not only with an understanding of the organization’s work from the Board perspective, but she has rich industry experience that will be critical to helping the organization ensure that everything it does “ultimately supports the North American forest industry.” She will be based in Loganton, PA.
Matt Krumenauer, currently an Endowment consultant, will becomeVice President, Special Projects. He will continue to work on advanced wood-to-energy solutions to address the nation’s burgeoning forest health crisis, which is being driven by climate change and forests clogged with small-diameter, dying or dead trees with little market value. Krumenauer will remain CEO of Oregon Torrefaction, LLC, an Oregon Benefit Corporation and Endowment subsidiary, dedicated to creating markets for low-value wood from forest restoration via “torrefaction” – the roasting of wood to create a renewable energy-rich product that can replace coal with a much smaller environmental footprint. He will be based in Salem, OR.
July 28, 2017 -- Study Finds that Markets are Key to Retaining Southern Forests
It is possible to “have your cake and eat it too,” at least when it comes to retaining healthy, well-managed forests. So says a groundbreaking study by Charlotte-based Forest2Market in its just released review of forestland across the southern U.S. from 1953-2015 – Historical Perspective on the Relationship between Demand and Forest Productivity in the US South.
“Forest2Market’s new study proves what many of us in the forest sector have said for years -- robust markets are the key to keeping forests as forests, “says Carlton Owen, President and CEO of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment). The Endowment joined Drax Group and the National Alliance of Forest Owners in supporting the in-depth review that should be welcome news to those who care about forests of all types. Among the findings:
The amount of timberland – land in forests available for management – increased slightly over the past 60 years to almost 200 million acres, even in the face of rapid population growth that roughly doubled over the same period.
Harvests to make the lumber, paper, chemical, and energy products desired by a growing population essentially doubled in 1996 to more than 10 billion cubic feet before falling back to just less than 9 billion cubic feet in 2015, while standing forest inventory – tree volume remaining in the forest – increased by more than 100%.
This near-magical feat – retaining forest acreage and increasing forest productivity, despite doubling forest harvest to meet product demand from a rapidly increasing population – is the result of research investments by industry and federal/state natural resources agencies and the commitment of forest owners to practice active management.
July 10, 2017 -- National Academy of Sciences Study to Review Genetic Technologies and Forest Health
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) is set to conduct a study to examine the potential use of biotechnology for mitigating threats to forest health; identify the potential ecological and economic consequences of deploying biotechnology in forests; and develop a research agenda to address knowledge gaps about its application.
The NAS study will describe measures or characteristics of forest health (and threats to forest health) as a context for evaluating the risk of releasing trees protected from pests and pathogens using biotechnology as compared to other approaches to address forest health. In addition to reviewing the literature on ecological risks and economic impacts, the study will draw on existing public opinion research for insights into the social, philosophical, and other dimensions of using biotechnology in trees. To read the full statement of task and to nominate an expert, visit Call for Nominations.
June 23rd, 2017 -- Honoring Bruce R. Miles with Gifts to University Scholarship Funds
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) today announced actions to honor the legacy of the late Bruce R. Miles, State Forester Emeritus of Texas. The Endowment made contributions to each of Texas’ forestry schools – Texas A&M University and Stephen F. Austin State University – both of which boast Bruce R. Miles Endowed Scholarships. Miles was an inaugural member of the Endowment Board of Directors where he served two, three‐year terms.
“In the recent passing of Bruce R. Miles of College Station, Texas, the Lone Star State and the nation lost a true forestry hero,” noted Endowment President & CEO Carlton N. Owen. “Bruce was a friend and professional colleague for more than a quarter century. He will always be remembered as a proud ‘adopted’ Texan, a friend to many, and truly the ‘Dean’ of the nation’s State Foresters.”
June 14th, 2017 -- New Intern Joins Endowment Team
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) continues its long tradition of partnering with Furman University (Greenville, South Carolina) to identify post-graduate interns to contribute to the Endowment’s work. Over the last ten years, the organization has seen over a dozen Furman students or graduates come through its Greenville, South Carolina headquarters.
Elly Gay, a May 2017 graduate of Furman, marks the newest addition to this long history. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Elly holds a Bachelor of Science in Sustainability Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and International Affairs. In the role of Program Impact Intern, Elly will help the Endowment quantify and communicate the impact and reach of over ten years of work to advance systemic, transformative and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation's working forests and forest-reliant communities.
“We are thrilled to have an individual as experienced and passionate about our mission as Elly joining our team,” said Cameron Tommey, the Endowment’s Director, Legal & Program Compliance. “Furman has a long history of collaborating with the Endowment and we are excited to continue this deep and productive Greenville connection.”
June 12, 2017 -- Enviva Forest Conservation Fund Awards 2017 Grants
The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund today announced the recipients of its 2017 grants. Established by Enviva Holdings, LP and administered by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the Fund is awarding $500,000 to three projects that will help conserve more than 8,000 acres of environmentally sensitive bottomland and wetland forests. The 2017 Enviva Forest Conservation Fund grant recipients are:
Ducks Unlimited: The Fund is providing $175,000 to assist with the acquisition of more than 6,000 acres in Camden County, North Carolina. The property is designated as wetlands and includes pocosins and Atlantic white cedar stands, which are bottomland forest ecosystems that the Fund has designated as priority conservation targets. Once acquired, this property will be owned by the state and open to the public as a Wildlife Management Area.
North Carolina Coastal Land Trust: The Fund is providing $200,000 to help acquire 1,000 acres in Bertie County, North Carolina, for creation of a new State Natural Area with public access. The property includes a mature cypress-gum swamp along the Chowan River and Salmon Creek. It also is the site of an archaeological study to determine if this property is where members of the Roanoke Island “lost colonists” may have relocated for a time.
Virginia Department of Forestry: The Fund is providing $125,000 to support a conservation easement on more than 1,000 acres in Sussex County, Virginia. This project blends working forest uses with permanent protection of bottomland forests including mature cypress/tupelo stands and a natural area set-aside to protect the state rare Savanna Panic Grass (Phanopyrum gymnocarpon).
“Our local conservation partners—Ducks Unlimited, the Virginia Department of Forestry, and the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust— have come through with some sensational projects in this second year of the program,” said Carlton N. Owen, President and CEO of the Endowment. “Not only will their good work lead to more than 8,000 acres of sensitive forestland being protected, but the public will have access to most of this property for compatible recreational uses.”
May 23, 2017 -- Walk in the Woods Engages Public on Issues of Forest Stewardship
Just as any walk in the woods offers surprises around the bend in the path or over the next hill, learning how to become more flexible and interactive in how we talk about forests is a journey full of wonder. More than two years of discussions and research has yielded a first-of-its-kind pathway for the people who steward or enjoy North America’s forests to actively engage with their families, neighbors, friends, and others in talking about the importance of the continent’s forests and their many values.
“Walk in the Woods uses the power of social media for those who work in, make a living from, care about, or benefit from forests – that’s all of us – to share their own experiences and views about the bounty of forests and their myriad uses,” said Carlton Owen, President & CEO of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment).
The Endowment has partnered with over 110 organizations, including state and federal natural resources agencies, forest products producers, conservation organizations, and universities, to create the North American Forest Partnership (NAFP). The Partnership seeks to have all within the greater forest sector engaged by highlighting their experiences and knowledge about forests. In addition to the Walk in the Woods website, NAFP seeks seek to have participants share via various social media platforms.
April 20, 2017 -- Grants to Accelerate Watershed Protection
The Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program’s second-year of awards expands the pace of proactive watershed protection in the U.S. through conservation and improved stewardship of hundreds of thousands of acres of lands that provide drinking water, flood risk reduction, and an array of economic and environmental benefits. The sixteen awards total $2.75 million and will benefit organizations and partnerships in 18 states. The Heathy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program was conceived by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water (EPA) and launched in late 2015. EPA co-funds the program with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the U. S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), which manages the partnership.
“This group of grant recipients reflects the remarkable creativity that local organizations show for protecting their drinking water sources and watersheds,” said Carlton Owen, the Endowment’s President and CEO. “Their efforts are voluntary, rooted in partnerships, and will benefit the economy, culture, and environment of their communities.”
February 6, 2017 -- Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Protects Environmentally Sensitive Forestland with Award from The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund and Ducks Unlimited
The Enviva Forest Conservation Fund (the Fund) today announced the closing of its first easement purchase from the 2016 grant cycle to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The approximately 220-acre easement – known as the Crowder and White tract – is the first of two in Southampton, Virginia, that will be secured with financial assistance from the Fund. When the second easement is completed, a total of 385 acres of floodplain forest dominated by mature cypress-tupelo will be protected.
The land protected through this first award is across the river from another parcel already protected by DCR. Together, the two form “The Narrows,” an important transit point for river herring, shad and alewife – fish species that rely on floodplain forest for spawning and nursery habitat. The Narrows will now be permanently protected. The swamps also provide habitat for a multitude of waterfowl, water birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and other fish.
“The permanent protection of this property with a conservation easement is cause for celebration,” said Carlton Owen, President and CEO of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities which administers the Fund. “Not only is it a valuable property for fish, wildlife and recreation, it is also the first transaction to be completed of the four Enviva Forest Conservation Fund awards made in 2016. It’s the first of many more to come.”
“Transparency and communication are at the core of our values at the Endowment,” said Endowment President & CEO Carlton Owen. “As such, we strive to provide a comprehensive, engaging, and revealing report at the end of each year that shares our story with our peers and others with interest in our work. This year’s annual report has the added value of highlighting the broad scope of work we’ve undertaken since our inception in 2006.”
The “Rooted” theme recognizes the accomplishments of the Endowment in the last ten years, starting with a few small grants and growing to a diverse portfolio of programs and projects spanning from coast to coast and touching all areas of American’s forests and the broad range of benefits that they provide. In this report we share projects by their stage of development: seed, sprout, and sapling.Among the Endowment’s notable 2016 accomplishments:
• Seed. Tall wood buildings and cross laminated timber (CLT) were the focus of much research and development in 2016. Addressing the challenge of modern buildings codes and increasing efficiencies in the supply chain for mass timber production and delivery will receive added emphasis in 2017.
• Sprout. Year 1 of the Endowment’s partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency—the Healthy Watershed Consortium Grant Program—saw a record number of applicants for any Endowment program and resulted in funding to nine dynamic projects in every corner of the country.
• Sapling. The Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention (SFLR) Program, part of the Endowment’s Asset Creation Initiative, continues to see significant successes and expanded in 2016 to include two new states—Georgia and Arkansas. The report shares both the personal story of one family’s engagement with the SFLR program as well as prestigious recognition by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
January 30, 2017 -- Endowment, Partners Showcased in Oregon Department of Forestry Video
The Endowment's first use of a loan guarantee helped to leverage over $1.9 million in partner investments to convert an outdated and inefficient fuel oil boiler to a district heating system. The system sources wood waste from nearby forests and heats the school, courthouse, and sheriff's office. The video below highlights the partnership and shared benefits.
January 26, 2017 -- Team Deepens Financial Support
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) recently welcomed Joie Moré to its Greenville, South Carolina, headquarters in the new role of Finance Director. This addition expands the Endowment’s in-house financial capacity to facilitate a growing portfolio of grants, contracts, program related investments, and numerous roles as fiscal agent with projects furthering systemic, transformative, and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation's working forests and forest-rich communities.
“We are thrilled that Joie agreed to join our team,” noted Endowment President & CEO Carlton Owen. “She brings deep knowledge of financial accounting and a range of experiences that will help make our work more efficient, effective, and impactful.”