Last Updated on September 28, 2020 1:19 pm
The North Carolina Land and Water Fund (NCLWF), formerly known as the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, awarded Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) $1,064,895 toward the purchase of land on Three Top Mountain in Ashe County.
The 355-acre property is located within the Three Top Mountain Natural Heritage Area and will serve as a critical connection between existing game land managed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. This project protects 3.5 miles of headwater streams and expands the range for wildlife habitat and migration corridors. The North Carolina Natural Heritage Program defines the mountain as exceptional, the highest rating a natural area can receive.
Three Top Mountain is named for its three impressive rock outcroppings and is part of the Amphibolite Mountain chain. Located in Ashe and Watauga Counties, the Amphibolites include Howard Knob, Elk Knob, Snake Mountain, Phoenix Mountain, Paddy Mountain, and Mount Jefferson.
“The Amphibolite mountain chain is a core conservation focus area for Blue Ridge Conservancy,” said Charlie Brady, BRC Executive Director. Three Top Mountain is home to an incredible abundance of biodiversity. We feel that it is our duty to protect these lands to keep ecosystems and their inhabitants healthy and intact.”
The grant received from the NCLWF leveraged $933,000 in private funding to cover the purchase of the property.
In 2019 the North Carolina General Assembly voted to rename the Clean Water Management Trust Fund to the Land and Water Fund because over the years its mission has expanded beyond the original focus on just water quality.
Since its creation in 1996 by the General Assembly, the Fund has conserved well over one-half million acres and protected or restored 3,000 miles of streams and rivers.