Public invited to listen to conference call meeting of N.C. Natural Heritage Trust Fund Board

From the press release from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources:

RALEIGH – People are invited to join next week’s conference call meeting of the board of trustees for the N.C. Natural Heritage Trust Fund, one of the state’s four funding mechanisms used to conserve important natural areas.

The conference call will be held from 10 a.m.-noon Aug. 15. People wishing to listen in on the meeting can call 919-420-7945.

Board members plan to discuss a change to the scope of work for plans to acquire Backbone Ridge in the Pisgah National Forest. Backbone Ridge, which is near Blowing Rock, is considered an important natural heritage area because of its rare plants and old growth forests. The property also boasts a scenic view of Grandfather Mountain and numerous recreational opportunities including hunting, fishing and hiking.

The board also plans to review minutes from last February’s meeting and clarify a resolution concerning the reuse of unspent certificates of participation funds. Financing from the certificates of participation enables the state treasurer to sell bonds. The trust fund’s board will repay the debt from the bonds using the trust fund’s future revenues. The General Assembly authorized these certificates of participation to protect ecologically diverse land and support the state’s conservation priorities.

No grants from the trust fund will be awarded during the Aug. 15 meeting, but board members will use the discussion to plan for the next cycle of grants.

The North Carolina Natural Heritage Trust fund provides supplemental funding to select state agencies for the acquisition and protection of important natural areas, preservation of the state’s ecological diversity and cultural heritage, and to produce inventories of the state’s natural areas. The trust fund is supported by 25 percent of the state’s portion of the tax on real estate deed transfers and a portion of the fees for personalized license plates. Since its creation in 1987, the trust fund has contributed more than $335 million through 539 grants to support the conservation of more than 300,000 acres. The Natural Heritage Trust Fund board meets twice a year.

An agenda for the Aug. 15 meeting can be found at the Natural Heritage Trust Fund’s website, http://www.ncnhtf.org/. Just click on the “Meetings” link and then the “Agenda – Aug. 15, 2012” link on the next page.


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