Troxler first announced the allocation of seed funding for the initiative in March of 2014. Since then, collaboration with WNC Communities has resulted in positive momentum in the effort to restore North Carolina’s hemlock trees to long-term health. Dead hemlocks can negatively affect nesting songbirds, trout populations, plant nurseries and landscapers, homeowners and tourism.
“The hemlock woolly adelgid continues to kill a large number of eastern and Carolina hemlocks in North Carolina, but our combined efforts are making a difference,” said Troxler. “As just one example, we recently recognized dozens of N.C. Forest Service employees for a five-month project that treated nearly 42,000 hemlocks on more than 1,500 acres in the state. It was a huge project, and we’re committed to continuing our efforts in various ways.”
While NCDA&CS provides resources such as funding, forestry expertise and manpower, the Asheville-based nonprofit WNC Communities manages grants and other funding sources, recruits research partners and provides administrative support for the program.
“The proclamation further cements the partnership between the Department of Agriculture and WNC Communities, and it serves as a promise for the future of the Hemlock Restoration Initiative,” Ferre said.
For more details about the initiative, go to savehemlocksnc.org.