3oct07 Wallen's Bend Clinch Rvr JL 283

New Lands Protected Along a Key Stretch of the Clinch River

In partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers (COE), Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME), and others, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) acquired ownership of three tracts totaling approximately 161-acres in Russell County, Virginia in two transactions on October 23, 2012 and February 5, 2013. Acquisition of these tracts contributes to the conservation of globally significant habitat on the Clinch River on lands adjacent to the Pinnacle State Natural Area. The partners combined available stream mitigation funds for the acquisition, restoration, and protection of significant frontage on the left bank of the Clinch River and two tributary streams flowing into the Clinch.

Cliff at hayfield upstream 7_21_11 (2)The reach of the Clinch River stretching from the Pinnacle State Natural Area to the town of Cleveland, Virginia is extremely scenic and has some of Virginia’s best remaining freshwater mussel populations. Protecting and restoring lands and waters through this stretch of river is a high priority for partners in the Clinch Powell Clean Rivers Initiative. This stretch of the Clinch contains federally designated critical habitat for at least four endangered mussel species; and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) tracks at least eighteen (18) globally or state rare species/communities in this area.

TNC intends to transfer the property to Virginia DCR as an addition to the Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve. The Pinnacle is a popular outdoor recreation and environmental education destination in Russell County, Virginia. The Conservancy is managing the property until it is transferred. Plans are underway to have an abandoned power line removed; and 7 acres of stream-side buffer are being planted with a mix of native hardwood trees. Funding for the tree planting is coming from the Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund- a mitigation program administered by TNC with oversight from the COE and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

CONTACT: Steve Lindeman, Clinch Valley Land Protection Program Manager, The Nature Conservancy, (276) 676-2209, slindeman@tnc.org.