The invasive insect is wreaking havoc on hemlocks, which are mainstays of Southern Appalachian forests. The Hemlock Restoration Initiative aims to fund the most promising projects and link the scientific community to allow hemlock trees to resist the adelgid and survive to maturity in North Carolina by 2025. A $100,000 grant to kick-start the initiative was awarded from North Carolina’s multi-million dollar legal settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority, an environmental funding pool stemming from a federal air pollution lawsuit.
A total of three grants, ranging from $10,000 to $25,000, will likely be awarded this year. Nonprofit organizations, academic institutions and local government agencies are all eligible. Individual landowners and businesses are not.
“We will consider any approaches that show real promise of helping to restore hemlocks to long-term health on North Carolina’s public and private lands,” said Linda Lamp, executive director of WNC Communities.