Fall 2020 Conservation Highlights

September 20, 2020

TLC increases focus in Lee County

Thanks to a generous donation from Tommy F. Bridges, TLC has been able to increase our conservation efforts in Lee County. Land Protection Manager Margaret Sands has taken the lead on working with Lee County landowners to conserve their land. While nothing has been finalized yet, there are some promising new projects in the works that showcase each of TLC’s three main land transaction types. A fee-simple purchase transfers full ownership of the land from the landowner to TLC. With a conservation easement, TLC works with a private landowner to set guidelines for the land and how it can be used. These rules stand regardless of whether the original landowner sells the land. A bequest is when land is left to TLC in a will. Bridges’s donation has enabled TLC to have the resources to work on these projects, and we look forward to more exciting outcomes in Lee County.

Almost 20,300 acres conserved in the Triangle

Staff are still hard at work to meet our goal of conserving 25,000 acres by 2025! Just days into TLC’s new fiscal year in July, we conserved 37 acres through a fee-simple donation in Orange County. The McQueen property was donated by Ida McQueen with assistance from her daughter Ellen. Transaction costs were covered by a mini-grant from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund. The property will have a conservation easement held by Orange County. It is bordered on two sides by Phil’s Creek and is mostly mixed hardwood forest.

TLC also recently conserved 55 acres known as the Patterson Thornton property, which protects the remaining 22 acres of the Calvander Laurel Bluff Natural Area as designated by the Natural Heritage Program. TLC already holds an easement along Morgan Creek that protects the northern portion of the Natural Area. The property protects 3,400 feet of Morgan Creek just two miles upstream of University Lake, which is the drinking supply for Chapel Hill and Carrboro. It also protects a mature stretch of bottomland forest that contains several oxbow pools, which offer prime breeding habitat for salamanders. The topography of the property is interesting, with extremely steep slopes, making space for large boulders and massive beech trees. In the spring, this area is covered with trout lily (Erythronium umbilicatum), Catesby’s trillium (Trillium catesbaei), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), hepatica (Anemone acutiloba), and crested iris (Iris cristada).

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