The Land Trust of North Alabama launched a fundraising effort back in June to acquire 91 acres of land along Paint Rock River, with the aim of an extensive wetland restoration project along the watershed.
Since then, the Land Trust has reached just over 60 percent of its goal of $223,000 — needed by November 1 to purchase the land — and still needs help from donors to make this project a reality. See how you can get involved:
Plans to protect the health of Paint Rock River
The Land Trust looks to purchase the land located in Jackson County, which is primarily lowland farmland and includes approximately 2/3 of a mile of Paint Rock River frontage.
More than 20 acres of the 91-acre property are currently enrolled in a Riparian Forest Buffer program part of the Conservation Reserve Program administered by the Farm Service Agency, which means trees have been planted or preserved alongside the river to provide a buffer for erosion and runoff.
In the short term, the Land Trust would maintain this buffer and agricultural use. Future plans for property management would include an extensive wetland restoration project to restore the land to a more natural condition as a bottomland hardwood forest.
This transition would conclude agricultural use of the property, which is only marginally productive due to regular flooding, and enhance habitat for wildlife and protection of the river corridor. As a conservation property, it would not be open to public access.
Why Paint Rock River protection is so important
The Paint Rock River is a free-flowing tributary of the Tennessee River that spans three counties in northeastern Alabama and one county in southeastern Tennessee.
The Watershed encompasses about 460 square miles and is one of the most biologically important regions in the state for both aquatic and plant and animal associations. It is home to around 50 state or federally listed species found within the river and its tributaries.
The watershed harbors a massive and unique rock formation known as the “Walls of Jericho” by local residents. The underlying limestone of the watershed is riddled with caves, springs and sinkholes and is a well-known destination for cavers.
How you can help
As we stated, the deadline to purchase the 91-acres of land is Nov. 1, and the Land Trust still needs to raise roughly $100,000 to complete the purchase.
You can make a donation toward the cause on the Land Trust’s website.