New Freshwater Land Trust easement in Coosa County protects longleaf, mussels & Cahaba lilies

Coosa
Joe “Jody” Thrasher on his property (Rebekah Correia and Sam McCoy)

The Freshwater Land Trust (FLT) announced today the acquisition of its first conservation easement in Coosa County. 

At 1,129 acres, the easement, which was secured at the end of 2022, is the single largest conservation easement in the organization’s portfolio.

Preserving a Special Place

According to the Land Trust the new conservation easement protects the following places, habitats, animals and plants:

  • A 3.3-mile section of Hatchet Creek, which holds the “Outstanding Alabama Water” designation from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management
  • A segment of the property bordering the conservation easement, is home to the federally-threatened Tulotoma snail (Tulatoma magnifica) and is designated critical habitat for nine federally-protected mussel species. 
  • Hatchet Creek’s clean, swiftly-flowing water also supports one of the larger and well-documented stands of Cahaba lilies (Hymenocallis coronaria) in the area.

Converting Loblolly to Longleaf

Coosa
(Freshwater Land Trust/Rebekah Correia and Sam McCoy)

The owner of the property, Joe “Jody” Thrasher, has also been converting the forestland from a loblolly plantation to  a montane longleaf pine savannah. His restoration efforts will hopefully provide enough habitat to bring back native species such as the endangered red- cockaded woodpecker.

“The Coosa River Basin was one of the most biologically rich ecosystems on the planet. Only fragments now remain. It is our duty to restore and preserve what remains, so that our grandchildren will be able to imagine what once was, and to be reminded that some things, once lost, can never be regained,” remarked Thrasher.

Conservation Easement Arrangement

As part of the conservation easement agreement, FLT will visit the property yearly to ensure its documented conservation values are maintained, and to assist with any management goals brought to its attention by the landowner.

“It has been an absolute pleasure to work with the Thrasher family to permanently protect this important and beautiful property along Hatchet Creek,” said Liz Sims, Freshwater Land Trust Land Conservation Director. “From our first conversations, it was clear Jody has a strong vision and commitment to conserve and enhance this property. I cannot wait to come back and see the Cahaba lilies!”

How to Conserve Land with FLT

For more information on conserving land with Freshwater Land Trust, visit: https://freshwaterlandtrust.org/what-we-do/conservation/

Pat Byington
Pat Byington
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