News & Events: News

By Beth De Bona
Times-News Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 12:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 9:01 a.m.

Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy has been awarded $100,000 in grant monies from Duke Energy for its Sitton Creek Protection and Restoration project in the Mills River watershed.

CMLC was one of 13 nonprofit organizations in North and South Carolina to receive portions of the $1 million earmarked for 2015 from Duke Energy's Water Resources Fund. The recipients were announced Wednesday by Duke Energy.

“We're excited to receive the Duke Energy grant for our Sitton Creek project,” said Kieran Roe, executive director of CMLC. “The grant will help protect and restore the quality of the Mills River watershed, a source of drinking water serving hundreds of thousands of users in Henderson and Buncombe counties in North Carolina.”

This is the first grant CMLC has received from Duke Energy, which established the fund in September 2014 with eight seed grants; 15 inaugural grants were distributed in March.

CMLC's project is based along the Sitton Creek tributary, located north of the North Mills River. The project is designed to protect water quality and will additionally expand public access to the area by adding 178 acres to Pisgah National Forest.

Roe said the added acreage is a key component to the project, as it will connect an outparcel of forest to the main body of the National Forest.

The project also includes planning for protection of about 150 additional acres, comprising acreage on each side of Sitton Creek that would be placed under conservation easements.

“If everything comes to pass as we hope, then this grant will allow us to protect acreage around Sitton Creek,” said Roe.

Duke Energy has committed to a $10 million, multi-year commitment for its Water Resources Fund. It aims to support nonprofits in their work to “protect and improve the environment, including waterways used year-round across the Carolinas and neighboring states,” according to a news release.

Recipients are selected by an independent body that includes five environmental experts and two Duke Energy employees. Twenty-three projects in the region are already benefiting from the fund.

“Local organizations are vital to protecting waterways across the Carolinas,” said Shawn Heath, vice president of The Duke Energy Foundation and Community Affairs. “Already, we're seeing good things happen due to this fund, including a new nature preserve that recently opened in Wake County and a streambank that was restored in Watauga County. These are projects that will have a lasting impact on the environment for decades to come.” 

Reach De Bona at beth.debona@blueridgenow.com or 828-694-7890 


Read about graduation and the end of last year's service term in AmeriCorps Project Conserve's Leaflet Newsletter. See where the new 2015-2016 class of AmeriCorps members are serving and learn about the Project Conserve events that are making a difference throughout western North Carolina.

You can also check out the Project Conserve 2014-2015 Impact Report, which displays the goals and exceeding results of the last AmeriCorps term. 


AmeriCorps Project Conserve is a national service program in which members come from across the nation to dedicate themselves to serving Western North Carolina for an 11 month service term. Project Conserve was founded in 2004 as an initiative of Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) to respond to the growing conservation needs in western North Carolina. The program focuses on collaboration with nonprofit organizations, community groups and local governments to provide service throughout the region. Find out more by visiting the Project Conserve website.


Please be advised that Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy is partnering with the North Carolina Forest Service (NCFS) to conduct a controlled burn in Florence Nature Preserve. This burn will occur on a single day between November 2015 and late March 2016. The date will be determined based on weather conditions and will be announced 1-3 days in advance. The burn will directly affect the northern portion of Florence Nature Preserve (see map below) but the entire property, including all trails and Little Pisgah Road, will be closed on the day of the burn.
 
Benefits of Controlled Burns:
  • Reduce the accumulation of fuels and therefore the risk posed to people and property from an uncontrolled fire
  • Promote species diversity, ecosystem health, and help control invasive species
  • Create openings in the canopy stimulating growth of oak and other beneficial species 
 
Safety is the #1 Priority of Every Controlled Burn Managers consider the safety of people, property, and the resource they are managing. This burn has been carefully planned by CMLC & NCFS, and the NCFS has prepared a burn plan for smoke & fire control. Florence Nature Preserve trails will be used as firebreaks. NCFS & CMLC have prepared these trails to ensure that the fire does not leave the burn area. NCFS personnel will be on property until the fire is completely out.
 
For more information please contact Sarah Fraser at CMLC: 828-697-5777 ext. 209; or Lee Wicker at NCFS: 828-891-3957

Downtown Hendersonville's Bearfootin' Public Art Walk has helped raise funding for Historic Dowtown Hendersonville and a variety of local non-profits since 2003. Twenty Bears are sponsored and decorated to reflect the theme or cause they represent to the community. After spending months in downtown Hendersonville, the Bears will be auctioned off with proceeds going to local non-profits. The Bears offer a window into the variety of good work being done by non-profits and community organizations in Henderson County. 

CMLC's Boulderbear is located in front of the Historic Courthouse. Boulderbear was created by the talented Susan Olivari and is sponsored by Hendograph Media, Chef Michael's Catering, and YouGetWeGive. The auction takes place on the steps of the old courthouse in downtown Hendersonville on Saturday, October 24th with auction sign-in and live music starting at 2:30 and the auction starting at 4:30, so set the date on your calendar! Can't be there? Online bidding and absentee bids will be accepted. Take a chance at winning Boulderbear and conserve the land you love at the same time!

Click here for more information about the Bearfootin' Public Art Walk and other Hendersonville Events.

 

 

 

 

 


Thank You All for a Beautiful, Fun, and Successful 15th Annual Conservation Celebration!

Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy donors, members, volunteers, and staff gathered together this past Saturday, September 19th to celebrate CMLC's conservation successes at Grand Highlands' Bearwallow Mountain Lodge in Hendersonville. The event included a live and silent auction of more than 80 donated gifts ranging from handcrafted wooden bowls to a complete kayak package. The night also included a raffle drawing for a trip of the winner's choice! We are thankful for such a magnificent sunny day to get together. Participants had the option to join a pre-celebration hike around Grand Highlands, returning to enjoy hors d'oeuvres and refreshments and to peruse the silent auction items. The festivities continued with an outdoor live aution, a delicious catered dinner, and local live music. Families, friends, and pets enjoyed a beautiful sunset from Bearwallow Mountain.

Since 1994, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy has conserved more than 28,000 acres of land--made possible by our incredibly dedicated donors, members, and volunteers. It is only with this community that CMLC is able to protect and steward land and water resources vital to our natural heritage and quality of life, conserving this beautiful land for generations to come.

Click here to view pictures from the above Conservation Celebration Online Web Album

 


Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy permanently protects farmland, forests, and other natural resources through fee simple acquisitions, conservation easements, and other measures.  Our organization has several conservation properties that are intersected by some of Duke Energy’s Foothills Project study corridors—properties that would be severely negatively impacted by the construction and maintenance of transmission lines across them. The State of North Carolina has invested significant public dollars in these conservation properties through the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF), which provided grants to cover transaction costs associated with closing conservation easements and to help our organization carry out perpetual stewardship of these properties. In addition, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources has certified an income tax credit for each of the potentially impacted easement donors. As a land trust, CMLC is obligated to defend the conservation values protected by our conservation easements and we will avail ourselves of any legal remedies available to us.

Furthermore, CMLC has several conservation projects in progress, as well as knowledge of other important natural resources, that are intersected by various segments of the study corridors. As a conservation organization that works throughout the study corridor region, CMLC is concerned about adverse impacts to significant natural resources that are likely to result from the construction and maintenance of the transmission lines on any of the study corridors. 

We have met with our local Duke representatives, in person, to discuss our conservation projects and other important natural resources that may be impacted by the proposed transmission lines and to share our geographic data with their personnel.  

Click here to read CMLC’s full comments to submitted to Duke during its public comment period.


For the past two years, Ann and Wayne B’Rells have directed a portion of the required minimum distribution from their IRAs to CMLC.  This tax-free transfer lowered their taxes because it excluded the contribution from their adjusted gross income.

IRA owners have been permitted to make tax-free transfers from their IRAs to charity since 2006, though Congress usually approves the provision one year at a time. That will most likely be the same for this year. 

Another very simple option is to name CMLC as a beneficiary of your IRA upon your death.  If you are charitably inclined, your IRA assets are the best possible assets to use to further the mission of your favorite non-profit organization.  Making CMLC a beneficiary of a portion or all of your IRA will create a charitable deduction for your estate and may save estate taxes.

Why not plan ahead to make the transfer?  Or consider making CMLC a post-mortem beneficiary of your IRA.  Contact your IRA administrator and provide them with our tax identification number (56-6449365) and address (847 Case St., Hendersonville, NC 28792).

ACT NOW to SAVE taxes and SAVE land.  Join the B’Rells and others who love the beauty and heritage of our region and wish to make its preservation a part of their estate planning and charitable giving.

“The natural landscape, mountain views, wildlife habitats, clean water and outdoor recreation are things we value greatly.  We are happy to support an organization that is working hard to preserve the things we love and need. We save on taxes and CMLC saves more land. That’s a win-win. ”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wayne and Ann B’Rells


Yellow Ladyslipper Volunteers

Bob Carlson and Kim Chao

Four years ago, Bob Carlson and Kim Chao moved to western North Carolina and were excited to begin the Hiking Challenge, but Bob noticed that CMLC was too understaffed to quickly update the program’s online hike log. His call to complain resulted in an ask for his help to solve the problem. So, “I put my time where my mouth was,” Carlson said. This may be an unusual beginning, but it was well within character for these two former teachers and lifetime volunteers for a variety of causes. “It’s hard for me not to stop the car and pick up a beer can along the side of the road,” Bob says. “It’s a way of life.”

In addition to maintaining the Hiking Challenge hike log, Bob and Kim also monitor a section of trail at Florence Nature Preserve, keeping it clean and safe for visitors. For these avid hikers, this hardly feels like work. “We’re out in the nature that we love,” said Carlson. “The volunteering is not an aside from what we like to do; it is what we like to do.” They are especially passionate about getting people out into nature through trails. “We both feel like we’ve lived blessed lives,” Chao said, “and this is a way of giving back.” Even with a frustrating start, Bob says that their story has a happy ending: “I’ve never regretted making that phone call.”

We are proud to present Bob Carlson and Kim Chao with our Yellow Lady Slipper Award in appreciation of their dedicated service and commitment to CMLC.


 

In this issue:

  • New Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge Established;
  • CMLC's 15th Annual Conservation Celebration;
  • 2015 Lela McBride Award Winners, Volunteers Honored;
  • Bob Carlson and Kim Chao: Yellow Lady Slipper Volunteers. 

AmeriCorps Project Conserve seeks dedicated individuals to fill 32 full-time positions serving conservation needs of western North Carolina. The program places service members with one of 17 host organizations working to protect the unique natural resources of the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Each member will serve 1700 hours during an 11 month term, from September 2015 through July 2016. Activities include volunteer engagement, conservation education, creation/improvement of public trails, lands and rivers, disaster services and capacity building.

Application Deadline has been extended to June 19, 2015.

We are also pleased to announce that we have one NEW position with Organic Growers School. Please go to americorpsprojectconserve.org for more information and to apply. Contact Amy Stout with any questions at 828-697-5777 or projectconserve@carolinamountain.org

AmeriCorps Project Conserve is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.  Reasonable accommodations will be provided to individuals with known physical / mental disabilities.


Please download the current version of Internet Explorer. IE 6 is no longer supported.