Archived Outdoors

Ivey wins conservation award

George Ivey, a well-known leader in conservation efforts in Haywood County, received the Pigeon River Award for 2006 from Haywood Waterways Association.


Ivey has been a key leader in efforts to preserve the rural landscape of Bethel over the past year, which in turn will protect the water quality of the Pigeon River.

“Preserving these lands will protect water quality, lesson stormwater runoff and reduce flooding in Bethel, Canton and other communities further down the River,” said Bill Eaker, who spoke at an annual Haywood Waterways awards program last week. “He has had tremendous success as a grant writer and community and organizational leader.”

Ivey’s efforts have been carried out under the Bethel Rural Community Organization. Grants Ivey helped secure for the organization include:

• $30,000 from N.C. Rural Center. The grant was used to raise public awareness for protecting the rural landscape of Bethel, including a video that describes the development pressures Bethel is facing and the need to act quickly, told by members of the community.

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• $20,000 from Pigeon River Fund for rural lands protection.

• $9,750 from N.C. Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. The grant is being used to appraise the value of a conservation easement on three sample tracts. The appraisals will illustrate for landowners what kind of tax breaks and write-offs they would get for entering a conservation agreements, and provide an estimate of the type of cash that would be needed to compensate landowners for entering a conservation agreement.

• $120,000 pending grant from N.C. Division of Water Resources for land protection planning and actual land protection in the floodplain.

• $60,000 from Golden LEAF for Buy Haywood Market Development Initiative to promote local produce and help keep farmers in business.

• $17,000 approved by Clean Water Management Trust Fund to develop a river corridor and floodplain protection plan for the Pigeon River between Lake Logan and Canton.

Ivey has assisted in farmland preservation efforts throughout Haywood County. Last year, he served as volunteer chairman of an exploratory committee asked by the county commissioners to investigate the potential need for a local land trust.

Ivey came to Haywood County six years ago to serve as the North Carolina director of Friends of the Smokies. He recently resigned from his full-time job with the Friends of the Smokies to dedicate more time to farmland preservation work in Bethel. He will continue to serve as a special projects consultant and grant writer for Friends of the Smokies.

Ivey graduated from Duke in 1990. Before coming to Haywood County, he worked with the Nature Conservancy, a land conservancy organization in Georgia, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Ivey has dedicated his life and career to protecting the environment wherever he has lived,” Eaker said.

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