NORFOLK, VA. - Norfolk Southern has received a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to help manage and enhance its 6,200 acres of longleaf pine at the railroad's Brosnan Forest wildlife preserve and conference center near Charleston S.C.
The NFWF recently awarded $3.1 million to 15 projects to support the restoration of the longleaf forest, one of North America's most threatened forest ecosystems. The projects are expected to restore more than 13,500 acres of native habitat and enhance an additional 140,000 acres on public and private lands. Brosnan Forest will receive $62,000 in funding, through a grant to The Longleaf Alliance, to manage and enhance its longleaf pine forest, one of the largest remaining stands in the United States.
Longleaf forests once covered more than 90 million acres from Virginia to Texas, but after years of timber harvesting, agricultural expansion, and urban development, just 3.4 million acres, about three percent of the original acreage, remains. The longleaf ecosystem is one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems outside the tropics, supporting hundreds of plant and wildlife species and providing critical habitat for more than half of the Southeast's amphibians and reptiles and 29 federally protected species.
To help restore this important ecological habitat to its historic U.S. range, NS will plant 2,000 acres of longleaf pine at Brosnan Forest over the next decade. The property is also a safe harbor for 82 colonies of endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers, the largest population of such birds on a single tract of private land. Norfolk Southern permanently protected Brosnan Forest in 2008 when it donated a conservation easement on more than 12,000 acres of the land to the Lowcountry Open Land Trust, and to advance the work of the Longleaf Alliance, the Norfolk Southern Foundation has provided $100,000 since 2010. For more information about Norfolk Southern's environmental initiatives, see NS' sustainability website, Footprints.
Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) is one of the nation's premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway Company subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal, automotive, and industrial products.
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