The Nature Conservancy Acquires 228 Acres in Northern Kentucky
Acquisition results from collaborative effort to protect wildlife habitat and water quality.
Lexington, Kentucky | December 02, 2013
On November 12th The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky acquired 228 acres in Boone County. The parcel is located adjacent to Kentucky’s Big Bone Lick State Park – in the heart of an area where Kentucky’s largest population of federally-endangered running buffalo clover occurs and where the state park joins with other privately protected land and the state-owned Adair Wildlife Management Area.
The property is also bounded in part by Gum Branch and Landing Creek, tributaries to the Ohio River which serves as a source of drinking water for more than three million people before flowing into the Mississippi River further downstream. The tract and other nearby natural areas face pressure from the “Golden Triangle” of urban development comprising Cincinnati in Ohio and Lexington and Louisville in Kentucky, and non-point source pollution from surrounding suburban areas and agricultural operations.
In response to these pressures, The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky acquired the land using mitigation funds from the Northern Kentucky University Research Foundation (NKURF).
“The NKURF’s Center of Applied Ecology utilizes fees paid by public and private entities that have adversely impacted aquatic ecosystems in the region,” said Dian Osbourne, the Conservancy’s Director of Land Protection in Kentucky. “In the case of this property, such fees resulted from habitat lost during construction of a landfill. The funds provide the opportunity to implement stream and wetland restoration in hopes of reversing the damage.”
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Indiana Bat Conservation Fund (IBCF), administered by the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust, also dedicated funds towards restoring the tract because forests on the property are potential summer habitat for endangered Indiana bats and other forest-dwelling bats. The IBCF serves as a mechanism for private individuals, companies and other organizations to minimize the effects of authorized, project-related incidental take of Indiana bats in Kentucky and an opportunity to contribute towards recovering critical forested habitat for the federally-endangered species.
“This project supports many of our strategic habitat conservation objectives for the Northern Kentucky area,” said Lee Andrews, State Field Office Supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Frankfort. “It’s not often we can collaborate with so many diverse partners on a single tract that achieves so much. This acquisition by TNC not only protects habitat for federally listed species, but also results in public access, water quality improvements, and habitat connectivity benefits for the citizens of the Commonwealth.”
These are reasons why The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky jumped at the chance to become involved in a project that would make a conservation impact in Northern Kentucky.
“Acquiring this tract – in such close proximity to already protected public lands – is key to our mission,” said Terry Cook, The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky’s State Director. “We are proud to be a part of protecting and restoring part of a landscape that will benefit water quality and habitat for endangered species that depend upon this area for all or part of their life cycle.”
The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky pursues a mission to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Since opening its doors in Kentucky in 1975, The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky has protected more than 46,000 acres of diverse habitat throughout the state, including more than 8,000 acres by direct ownership and 6,500 acres by conservation easements. During this time, we have also helped to conserve more than 100,000 acres of additional lands and waters throughout the Commonwealth in partnership with corporations, government agencies, conservation organizations and private landowners, partnerships made possible by support of a loyal and dedicated membership.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.