At a June public meeting sponsored by the Swannanoa Superfund Community Advisory Group (CAG), attendees heard from a representative of the Southern Appalachian Superfund Site – Community Involvement Logo Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) about the benefits of conservation easements. The slide show and discussion focused on the potential for a conservation easement to be placed on approximately 500 acres of the Swannanoa Superfund property that is scheduled to be delisted from Superfund status. The remainder of the original 1027-acre site,located off Old Bee Tree Lake Road, will remain on the federal Superfund list.
A conservation easement is a volunteer legal agreement between a land owner and a qualified conservation organization that permanently restricts development rights on the property, thereby preserving and protecting the land, habitat, water quality and scenic views. The land owner retains ownership, subject to the conservation restrictions. The easement stays with the land if it’s sold or passed on.
A conservation easement on the Superfund property would allow timber harvest with a timber harvest plan, which would prevent clear cutting. Clear cutting could cause significant changes to the land and water flow, and perhaps cause chemicals on the property to reach areas not currently impacted.
Dialogue has already occurred among the SAHC and the former and current owners of the property, who are referred to as Potentially Responsible Parties, or PRPs. The PRPs have expressed interest in further exploring a possible conservation easement agreement between the parties, and are willing to allow for a community dialogue on this issue through the CAG forum. The CAG is currently planning a community meeting with the PRPs and the SAHC, to gather input and explore what the community would like to see included in the conservation easement. Stay tuned for details about the date and time of this meeting.
To learn more about the Swannanoa Superfund CAG and the Chemtronics Superfund site, please visit