The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) recently purchased 139 acres in the Beaverdam area of Haywood County, connecting the Town of Canton’s Rough Creek watershed property with conserved land previously protected by SAHC.
The acquisition will permanently protect wildlife habitat, scenic views from public trails, and water quality in streams.
“This 139-acre tract includes portions of Beaverdam Creek and its tributaries,” explains Hanni Muerdter, SAHC’s conservation director. “The property fills a protection gap within the watershed, directly connecting Canton’s Rough Creek watershed conservation easement to the west and an SAHC-owned preserve to the north. Together these properties form a 1,120-acre nearly contiguous protected assemblage within the Beaverdam watershed.”
Beaverdam Creek’s water quality is considered to be on the decline, and SAHC’s purchase of the tract improves surface water quality by permanently protecting 2.5 miles of stream on the tract from development. SAHC also plans to manage the property according to best management practices for water quality, which will help reduce sedimentation, bacteria levels, and runoff. This purchase directly supports the Beaverdam Watershed Action Plan, produced by Haywood Waterways and the Pigeon River Fund.
“SAHC’s acquisition of this property complements our work to prevent water quality degradation in Beaverdam Creek, which is considered to be on the decline,” says Eric Romaniszyn, Executive Director of Haywood Waterways Association. “Haywood Waterways works to maintain and improve water quality throughout Haywood County through voluntary initiatives. Our Pigeon River Watershed Action Plan specifically recommends conservation of critical headwater areas, such as the tract recently acquired by SAHC, for the long-term protection of water quality. We certainly appreciate SAHC’s and the partnership’s work to protect these lands and maintain the high quality of our watersheds.”
This acquisition was made possible with a generous seed gift from private donors for the acquisition, support from SAHC’s members, and a $25,000 grant from the Pigeon River Fund of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.
“This land has been passed down in the same family for over 150 years, and we are so grateful that the previous landowner wanted to see it permanently protected and reached out to SAHC,” adds Muerdter. “We look forward to managing this land for future generations.”
Please visit appalachian.org for additional information.