Cary News

Chatham County gains 345 more protected acres

The Triangle Land Conservancy recently added permanent environmental protections to 345 acres of farmland in western Chatham County, south of Siler City and U.S. 64.

The land belongs to Bobby Branch, a landscaper-turned-developer from Sanford, and much of it lies along the banks of tributaries to the Rocky River. The easement extinguishes all development and mining rights on the land, which includes an old quarry; only farming and forestry are permitted now.

“Given the rapid growth in nearby parts of Chatham County, these conservation victories here are all the more important,” Chad Jemison, executive director of the Triangle Land Conservancy, said in a statement.

“The Rocky River area is renowned for its important natural lands along the creeks and the free flowing, cool water streams that run for over 30 miles, providing important habitat for dozens of rare plants and animals including the federally endangered Cape Fear Shiner.”

The Triangle Land Conservancy has acquired conservation easements on more than 16,750 acres in Wake, Johnston, Durham, Orange, Chatham and Lee counties, including ones on a dozen family farms in Chatham.