Foundation Seeks Forest Conservation Proposals

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) is seeking proposals for projects that would conserve forests in communities affected by construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Funding for the work comes from the Forest CORE (Community Opportunities for Restoration and Enhancement) Fund — a component of VOF’s TERRA program, which administers funds resulting from legal and regulatory actions involving Virginia’s natural resources. The Forest CORE Fund was established in 2018 with $15 million received by the Commonwealth of Virginia to mitigate for forest fragmentation caused by the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Forest fragmentation occurs when large, contiguous forests are broken into smaller forests separated by roads, utility corridors, housing, and other development. Fragmentation can weaken forest health resiliency, degrade habitat, interfere with the movement and reproduction of animals, and increase invasive plants and other pests, resulting in loss of biodiversity.

This is the second round of Forest CORE Fund grants. The first round, announced in 2018, resulted in $3.6 million dollars being awarded to projects in seven counties, several of which create or enhance opportunities for public recreation. For the second round, VOF’s board of trustees adjusted scoring criteria to further encourage projects that provide broad community benefits and are located in communities closest to the pipeline.

Eligible applicants include private 501(c)(3) charities and local, state, tribal, and federal agencies, such as park authorities, planning district commissions, regional public access authorities, tribal councils, and soil and water conservation districts. Landowners who are interested in protecting their forests with these funds but are not working with an existing entity should contact VOF’s Emily White at (434) 282-7054 or ewhite@vofonline.org. More details about the fund and grant round may be found at http://www.virginiaoutdoorsfoundation.org/terra/fcf-mvp/

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