KVLT receives two conservation easements in 2014

The Katawba Valley Land Trust, located in Lancaster, received two conservation easements at the close of 2014 which protects a total of 380 acres.

A 219-acre conservation easement was donated by the Stoneboro Plantation LLC in the Stoneboro area of southern Lancaster and northern Kershaw counties.

A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement between a landowner and the land trust which places certain restrictions on the future property development while protecting the conservation values in perpetuity. Landowners can also realize tax benefits for the value of the donated easement.

This is the third easement donated to KVLT by Stoneboro Plantation, bringing the total amount of protected property to 970 acres on this heavily wooded tract near the headwaters of Little Beaver Creek.

“Protecting this property through a conservation easement enhances wildlife habitat and protects water quality,” said Barry Beasley, Katawba Valley Land Trust executive director.

The forested property includes stands of loblolly pines and mixed hardwoods in the floodplain and riparian areas along Little Beaver Creek.

These pine forests are open with little understory growth due to the use of prescribed fire in the management of the property. The use of fire stimulates natural conditions and enhances the growth of native grasses and shrubs.

White-tailed deer, wild turkeys and mourning doves are abundant on the property, which also provides important habitat for neotropical migratory birds, as well as many other species.

Another characteristic of the tract is the large outcrops of granite scattered throughout the property which are are significant from a geologic and scenic perspective and reflect the past importance of granite and stone quarries in this area.

“Protecting this property through a conservation easement enhances wildlife habitat and protects water quality,” said Barry Beasley, Katawba Valley Land Trust executive director.

“We are very appreciative of the commitment to conservation shown by the Burlingame and FitzHugh families,” said KVLT President Mark Grier.

“Their management of this property demonstrates their ongoing interest in land protection and their conservation ethic.”

The Burlingames and FitzHughs added “we are most pleased to continue our work with the Katawba Valley Land Trust to promote conservation activities in our region to preserve in perpetuity the aspects which make this area so unique.”

The second land protection project is a conservation easement on 116 acres in Chester County.

This parcel has frontage along Rocky Creek and has a diverse hardwood forest along the creek.

The rest of the property is timberland. The conservation of this property protects traditional forestry practices, the rural character of Chester County and provides significant wildlife habitat.

“The protection of this property provides good habitat for migratory neo-tropical songbirds and helps protect the water quality of Rocky Creek,” Beasley said.

The Katawba Valley Land Trust currently holds 33 conservation easements.  With these two easements, the land trust has protected more than 9,000 acres.

The Katawba Valley Land Trust is a membership-based conservation organization founded by Lindsay Pettus in 1992. Its mission is to conserve significant natural and cultural resources in Lancaster County and the surrounding area.

The land trust also sponsors an annual speaker series that is open to the public and hosts hikes and outings throughout the year.

For more information on the land trust visit the website at www.kvlt.org.

By Katawba Valley Land Trust, published in The Lancaster News