Howell said he expects much of the grant money to be awarded by OSI to be used to help land trusts negotiate conservation easements with landowners, or to transfer land from willing sellers at sites within national forest proclamation boundaries to the U.S. Forest Service.
"We've put out a request for proposals to conservation groups working in the area," he said. "All kinds of public and private groups are welcome to apply."
West Virginia's Potomac headwaters area, Howell said, "will play a key role in the biggest issue of our time" by providing a place for "wildlife and plants to adapt to a warmer climate."
Additional grant money will be available from the OSI for mapping, research, outreach and planning within the region.
Other areas in the eastern United States targeted for protection and planning assistance by the OSI are the forests of southern New Hampshire and Main, the Middle Connecticut River region of Massachusetts and Vermont, and the highlands of Kittatinny Ridge in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The OSI initiative has a lead grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Founded in 1974, the OSI has protected more than 116,000 acres in New York, and has assisted in the protection of an additional 2.2 million acres from Quebec to Georgia.rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.