Land near swamp set for conservation

Published 5:28 pm Tuesday, February 2, 2021

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Ducks Unlimited and conservation partner Farmland Partners will acquire nearly 1,300 acres near the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge for habitat restoration and protection.

North Inlet Advisors LLC helped with acquiring the land. The partnership announced the plan last week.

All of the land acquired, and to be acquired, is in Virginia and is between the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and the Cavalier National Wildlife Refuge in Chesapeake and will take place over the next three years. No financial terms of the deal were provided.

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Ducks Unlimited spokeswoman Emily Austin said the purchase is important because it “provides a critical connecting piece in a conservation corridor between Great Dismal Swamp and Cavalier National Wildlife Refuge, in an area of the state that is seeing rising development. DU is in the preliminary plan to restore agriculture lands back to wetlands where applicable.”

Two pieces of land make up the Cavalier National Wildlife Refuge management area — the 750-acre Dismal Swamp tract adjoining the Dismal Swamp Canal and the 3,800-acre Cavalier tract located near the North Carolina state line near Route 17.

“Farmland Partners has become an invaluable partner in conservation and this newly acquired property will expand an existing protected habitat area by over 1,200 acres,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam in a statement. “By protecting this historic landscape we will ensure future generations have the opportunity to enjoy this iconic area in the Atlantic Flyway.”

The Great Dismal Swamp — in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina — is made up of forested wetlands and is a crucial habitat for many birds, wildlife and plants.

“Farmland Partners is honored to continue the long tradition of farm owners supporting wildlife habitat preservation,” said Farmland Partners CEO Paul A. Pittman in a statement.

The new property acquisition will grow the amount of existing protected habitat area made up of the Great Dismal Swamp, lands protected by The Nature Conservancy and the Cavalier Wildlife Management Area, managed by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.

“Ducks Unlimited and Farmland Partners should be commended for finding a workable solution to promote vital wetland habitat enhancements despite residential development growth in close proximity to the property,” said North Inlet Managing Director John Burlingame in a statement. “Through proper management, this area will serve as a point of interest for wilderness enthusiasts for generations to come.”