After several years of facilitation, The LandTrust is very excited to announce the first phase of the Kannapolis Project has closed. On October 10, 2006, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) acquired 1,100 acres of the 2,843 acres from the City of Kannapolis. The LandTrust or WRC will acquire the property in five phases that will culminate in a total of 2,843 acres protected. The N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the N.C. Natural Heritage Program, the Cannon Foundation, and The LandTrust provided funding for this first leg of the project.

As you likely recall, The LandTrust became involved after the sale of two nearby, smaller properties owned by the City. Public outcry over the potential sale of this larger tract led to a diverse group seeking protection for this center piece of western Rowan County’s agricultural landscape. After a series of negotiations and public meetings, a deal was struck that would allow The LandTrust to acquire the property and protect it against otherwise imminent development.

The entire property drains into Second Creek, which further downstream is listed for possible inclusion on EPA’s 303(d) list of impaired streams. The LandTrust is hopeful that improved buffers along miles of streams traversing the property will positively impact the downstream water quality enough to avoid its listing. The City of Kannapolis has also retained a water intake near the northeast corner of the property that serves its citizen’s water needs. A leading reason for the City’s agreement to sell the land to a conservation entity was the understanding that the quality of waters available at this site would be maintained or improved.

Local farmers who have relied on this land for years to support their operations will continue to tend the land. Their crops of corn, soybeans, wheat and other grains will provide food and habitat for the abundant wildlife. As a result of The LandTrust’s involvement, the farmers, sportsmen, and wildlife of this area can continue their pursuits well into the future.