Salisbury Post Oct. 25, 2004

Trust joins effort: Ecosystem program to save wetlands

The LandTrust for Central North Carolina has announced its participation in a new state partnership aimed at preserving thousands of acres of wetlands and river bottoms.

The land trust is now working with the Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP) to obtain funding for interested landowners.

The EEP provides substantial funding to be paid to qualifying landowners who have forested river and creek bottoms, as well as intact wetlands on their properties.

In return for legal restrictions that will ensure that the areas remain undisturbed, landowners may receive 60 to 70 percent of the land's fair market value.

Landowners participating with the EEP retain ownership and control of the property, except for giving up the right to develop it or harvest timber.

Landowners also retain personal hunting rights and the right of privacy. The EEP does not involve public access in any way.

"We're real hopeful about the possibilities the EEP presents," said Andy Abramson, associate director of the land trust. "And it really is a win-win for a lot of people.

"I know this isn't for everyone, but there are a lot of folks out there who want to keep their wooded bottomlands as is. And now they can possibly get paid for it."

LandTrust for Central North Carolina works in 10 counties, including Rowan. A key component in its mission includes forest, open space, wetland and farmland preservation.

The land trust has conserved more than 9,100 acres in its 10-county area and more than 2,900 acres in Rowan County alone.

For more information, contact the LandTrust at 704-647-0302 or visit its Web site at www.landtrustcnc.org.