Cooperatove Conservation Project
COOPERATIVE CONSERVATION CASE STUDY

Pine Mountain Georgia

Conseervation and Multiple Resource Management of Private Forest Lands

Location: Southeastern Region: Georgia

Project Summary: The Ida Cason Callaway Foundation Preserve adjoins Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park with rare Montane Longleaf Pine. A conservation easement was sold to the State to maintain this land in forest use.
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Liz Crane
Resource Challenge
Tremendous development pressure along the Interstate corridor from metropolitan Atlanta to Columbus Georgia impacts the ability of natural forests to filter water, air and provide open spaces.  The Middle Chattahoochee watershed has suffered negative impacts from development and is now designated by the Georgia State Unifed Watershed Assessment as an impaired watershed in most need of restoration.  Along with placing intact forests into conservation easements so they will retain their ability to filter water, a stream bank revetment project is underway with the Natural Resource Conservation Service.
Examples of Key Partners

The Conservation Fund conducted a planning assessment for 14,000 acres of undeveloped land.  This land is owned and managed by the Ida Caseon Callaway Foundation.  The analysis of the property's natural and cultural resources, existing and potential uses and access was recorded in a comprehensive plan, used by Harris County to apply for the Governor's Greenspace Program based on its 33% growth rate and need to preserve green spaces.  The Ida Callaway Foundation applied for an received about $4 million in federal Forest Legacy funds from the Forest service for a working forest conservation easement held by the Georgia Forestry Commission.  Seventy-five percent of that was federal money and 25 percent was local match, with the Home Depot Foundation putting up $25,000 and the rest from a donation of interest in land from the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation. 

Technical forestry assistance for the restoration of the Montane Longleaf Pine is provided by the Georgia Forestry Commission.  Also supporting the project is The Nature Conservancy, the Georgia Department of Natural Resource, The Georgia Conservancy, The American Forestry and Paper Association and Columbus State University at Oxbow Meadows. 

Results and Accomplishments

2,507 acres of land was placed under a perpetual conservation easement, restricting any future development.  Additional projects in the area are being planned, and this project motivated the county's involvement in the Georgia Greenspace Program.  Other state programs are being considered for funding by the state legislature.

The property contains a notable mix of species common to the Appalachian Mountains, Piedmont, and the Coastal Plain all in one place!  Controlled public access is allowed for recreation and environmental education.    Annual field trips for more than 30,000 school children are funded through donations.  Naturalists help educate adults and children about sustaining our natural environment.

The forest is managed under sustainable management practices following Sustainable Forestry Initiative protocols.  This project consolidates and connects public forests (Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park) through the use of conservation easements on private forest lands, along with the protection and restoration of the Montane Longleaf Pine ecosystem.

Innovation/Highlight

Environmental and traditional forestry groups are working with private forest landowners to conserve working forest landscapes. Environmentally important forests with significant public benefits are restored and conserved for future generations.

Project Contact
LuAnn Craighton
Director of Land Stewardship
Ida Cason Callaway Foundation, Callaway Gardens
P.O. Box 2000
Pine Mountain, GA 31822
706-663-5192
LCraighton@callawaygardens.com
Buford Sanders
Forest Legacy Coordinator
Georgia Forestry Commission
1055 East Whitehall Road
Athens, GA 30605
706-542-9939
bsanders@gfc.state.ga.us
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