Grant-making entity owning 98% of apparel brand Patagonia, Holdfast Collective's $5.2 million gift marks its largest to any non-profit in the world to date and—alongside $3 million in internal funding from The Nature Conservancy, other individual donors, and $10 million in revolving land protection from an undisclosed source—signals the global importance of preserving Alabama's natural resources in the Delta region.
The Nature Conservancy announced today that it has closed on a nearly 8,000-acre tract in Clarke County where the Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers join, known as the Mobile Delta’s Land Between the Rivers. This critical tract’s creeks, rivers, ponds and oxbow lakes contribute to the Delta’s recognition as the home to the greatest number of freshwater species in the U.S., making it one of the most ecologically diverse places on the planet.
The Mobile-Tensaw Delta represents one of the best high-yield opportunities for carbon capture projects in the U.S. outside of the Cumberland Plateau in the Appalachians. With proper protection and management, the forests will continue to capture and store carbon, becoming part of Earth's natural solutions to fight climate change.
"This tract represents the largest remaining block of land that we can protect in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. First and foremost, TNC is doing this work for our fellow Alabamians who rightly pride themselves on their relationship with the outdoors," said The Nature Conservancy's Alabama State Director, Mitch Reid. "Conservation lands in the Delta positions it as an anchor in a corridor of protected lands stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Appalachian Mountains and has long been a priority in TNC’s ongoing efforts to establish resilient and connected landscapes across the region."
Given the importance of this area to global biodiversity, Holdfast Collective, Patagonia’s non-profit shareholder, provided a $5.2 million gift for the purchase.
"We are fortunate that we were able to partner with the Holdfast Collective to realize this vision," said TNC in Alabama State Director Mitch Reid. "Holdfast recognizes the global importance of this landscape and became a principal investor early on in the project. Without Holdfast, this project would not have been possible."
“Alabama is important. The Holdfast Collective sees Alabama, and the Land Between the Rivers, as a landscape that is as critical to protect as our other priority areas around the globe," said Holdfast Collective Executive Director Greg Curtis. "This project is the first step in a long-term strategy with our partners in Alabama to protect America’s Amazon.”
In addition to Holdfast, an unnamed source provided $10 million in a revolving loan fund for the land deal. TNC also committed $3 million additional funds to the land acquisition, which was finalized in late January.
"The Holdfast Collective and The Nature Conservancy recognize that Alabama is an internationally significant landscape for conservation. Protecting this unique and foundational habitat will benefit the people and wildlife who make their homes in Alabama and throughout the southeastern U.S.," added Reid.
Over the last three decades, TNC has worked with partners to protect nearly 100,000 acres of the 200,000-acre Mobile-Tensaw Delta complex. Ultimately, TNC leadership believes this unique and foundational habitat will benefit the people and wildlife who make their homes in Alabama and throughout the southeastern U.S.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 70 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.