THE NATURE CONSERVANCY
NEW PRESERVE: The view at Council Rock Forest.
The Nature Conservancy
, a non-profit that works to protect lands, wildlife, and waters, has purchased 1,425 forested acres on mountain near Mt. Judea along Big Creek, a tributary of the Buffalo River, Michael Tilley at Talk Business reports
The land was purchased for $700,000 — the family that owned sold it at a steep discount so that it could be placed in conservation. The preserve is to be called "Council Rock Forest." The conservation effort will be jointly funded by the Nature Conservancy and the Buffalo River Foundation, which said in a statement
: “This conservation acquisition is a great example of landowners in the Buffalo River watershed working in practical ways to conserve the natural resources and cultural heritage of the Buffalo River watershed."
Mt. Judea is the site of the controversial C&H Hog Farm, the 6,500-hog feeding operation near Big Creek. Critics argue that C&H poses an unacceptable environmental risk to the Buffalo River watershed. The state has enacted a five-year moratorium on future large hog farms in the watershed, but C&H remains in operation. Environmental activists remain fearful of future expansion of what they label "factory farms" in the watershed; the Nature Conservancy's purchase (a process that began prior to the C&H controversy) provides one small safeguard.