It’s a great day at ECWA when a landowner calls and asks, “Can we talk?”
Late in fall 2017, this was the exciting situation when two landowners contacted the land protection team about conserving their properties with ECWA. Both sites, located just north of the city limits, fall within the Ellerbe Creek watershed and were properties that ECWA had long been interested in protecting.
Thanks to Edward and Marlou Bacon and funding from the City of Raleigh’s Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative, sixty-two acres of gently sloping former agricultural fields with open meadows and both young and mature hardwood forests have been added to ECWA’s Veasey Farm Preserve, creating a green space now more than 250 acres.
Located only two miles from Falls Lake and five miles from downtown Durham, the expansion includes smaller tributaries to Ellerbe Creek that wind through the property. Along with protecting drinking water for the Triangle, this conservation property may one day allow for agricultural use, educational opportunities, and public recreation.
Just west of the Veasey Farm Preserve is a pie shaped sliver of land adjacent to the Army Corps of Engineers’ Falls Lake Game Lands, and around the corner from the beloved Heron Rookery. These 5 acres were purchased years ago as part of a nearby development, but due to its location and limited access, the site was never developed. ECWA’s ongoing relationship with the landowner, Cimarron Homes paid off. Knowing ECWA’s reputation for protecting, restoring, and connecting Durham to Ellerbe Creek, Cimarron Homes’ President Craig Morrison was moved to donate the property to ECWA.
The Triangle Community Foundation generously provided ECWA with a grant to cover closing costs and to increase ECWA’s Stewardship Legacy Fund. We are excited that more land protected means more breathing room for the herons, migratory birds, and other wildlife in our vibrant, rapidly expanding city.
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ECWA's vision is a living creek connecting human and natural communities in Durham. Through land acquisition, collaboration with the city, and public education, we hope to create a Durham where residents can bike or walk across the watershed and stop at local businesses and nature preserves along the way.