Hilda S. Watt of Taylorsville recently donated a conservation easement on a 100-acre tract of land which has been in the family for over 200 years. At present, the land is mostly forested, although it has some open fields which are currently being farmed. The most spectacular aspect of this property, however, is its approximately 4500 linear feet of stream bank along the South Yadkin River.

Aside from the astounding views and important wildlife habitat these river banks provide, there is great ecological significance to them as well. The easement provides  for an impressive 300 foot buffer where no development can occur along the South Yadkin River. As part of the Yadkin-Pee-Dee River watershed, which is the second most relied upon river basin in North Carolina for drinking water, these buffer areas are becoming increasingly important.

Ray Raymer, a prominent Statesville businessman, was instrumental in helping Hilda Watt bring her plans of land protection to fruition. Ray is the nephew of Hilda and the late William Watt. Ray recalled his uncle’s efforts nearly a decade ago to preserve this property. At the time, however, there were very few options available to him to ensure that his land would remain in a relatively natural state in perpetuity. Thus, he was unsuccessful in realizing this goal during his life. Ray put his aunt in touch with The LandTrust when he heard about the work that we were doing t preserve land in Iredell.

“This Property plays an important role in our goal of acquiring significant buffers throughout the Yadkin-Pee-Dee River watershed,” notes Jason Walser, Associate Director for Land Protection at The LandTrust. “The family owns both banks along the river corridor, and when you consider this property and the recently acquired South Yadkin Shoreline being protected. The pieces are really starting to come together regarding protection of our vital Yadkin River tributaries.”