Wildlands News: Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves, and Kentucky Natural Lands Trust now have a new tool to help landowners protect their wildlands – a $6.8 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS). The grant is provided through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) and will help Kentucky landowners use conservation easements to protect forests and connect wildlands corridors. The Greater Bernheim RCPP Project also includes support for outreach and education activities for conservation, water, and land stewardship.
Andrew Berry, Bernheim Director of Conservation, stated that “the Greater Bernheim RCPP Project will preserve forests, wildlife, and iconic knobs landscapes that are an important part of the local heritage in Kentucky. Studies show natural lands contribute to quality of life and health of communities by providing enrichment through wildlife, recreation, scenic beauty, and ecosystem services such as clean air and water.”
The Greater Bernheim area is a mixture of nonprofit preserves, conservation easements, state forests and federal lands. Conservation efforts have been championed by Bernheim, Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves and Kentucky Natural Lands Trust along with state and federal partners.
Kentucky Natural Lands Trust Executive Director Greg Abernathy stated that “large landscape conservation depends on the power of partnership. NRCS is a welcome partner in our efforts, their RCPP funding will help advance the innovative and meaningful conservation work underway in the region.”
Through RCPP, conservation partners collaborate with NRCS to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners throughout the nation implement systems that conserve water and soil resources, improve the health of wildlife habitats, and increase climate resilience. Nationally, NRCS is investing a total of $330 million in 85 locally driven, public-private partnerships to address climate change, improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat, and protect agricultural viability.
Terry Cosby, Acting Chief for USDA-NRCS, said the 85 new projects will help enact change needed to combat the climate crisis. “The Regional Conservation Partnership Program is public-private partnership working at its best,” Cosby said. “These new projects will harness the power of partnership to help bring about solutions to natural resource concerns across the country.”
4/27/2021 – Press Release (pdf)
Visit our Bernheim-Fork Knox Wildlands Corridor page for an overview of this long standing conservation effort.
photo credits: Greater Bernheim ~ Keith Mountain; Golden Eagle ~ Andrew Berry, Bernheim Forest
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