CROSSVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A half a mile stretch of land across 32 acres has been donated as a conservation easement by a Crossville couple to help protect a river in Cumberland County.

TennGreen Land Conservancy announced the donation of the land along Obed River was made in a press release on Wednesday, October 5. The landowners, Bill and Joy Morgan of Crossville, partnered with the non-profit to place the easement as a measure to protect the species-rich waters and forests for generations to come.

Obed River is approximately 45 miles long, with mouths on the Emory and Clinch Rivers. It flows from Emory River near Wartburg and the Nemo Tunnel Trail down to Lake Holiday in Crossville. Part of the area that the river flows through includes land in the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area.

“My wife and I love our property and are in awe of its unique natural beauty,” said Bill Morgan. “Because of this, we chose to preserve its many remarkable features with a conservation easement in hopes that the land will pass on to future generations of owners who will love and maintain it as we do.”

The land donated, known as Obed Point, includes approximately half a mile of land along the Obed River, approximately three miles upstream from the section that is designated as a “Wild and Scenic” river according to TennGreen. While Tennessee has many “Wild and Scenic” rivers, TennGreen says that the Obed River is the only stream managed by the National Park Service.

Obed Point is in an area that is both a TennGreen Land Conservancy Priority Focal Area and the Catoosa/Emory Conservation Opportunity Area identified in Tennessee’s State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). TennGreen says that conserving properties like Obed Point is vital to protecting the water quality and aquatic habitat in the Obed River Watershed.

“We first became aware of TennGreen Land Conservancy and its expertise in protecting our state’s waterways and habitats after a presentation by Christie Henderson, TennGreen’s Director of Land Conservation,” Morgan said. “During the conservation easement process, we especially enjoyed walking our property with Kristen Hanratty, TennGreen’s Conservation Project Manager, who facilitated the timely completion of the easement on our land. We encourage others considering an easement to work with TennGreen Land Conservancy!”

The conservation easement is a voluntary and legal agreement to permanently protect important natural resources from harmful land practices according to TennGreen. They say that conserving a property with this type of easement allows landowners to preserve their vision for the land and create a lasting legacy.

Obed Point’s conservation marks TennGreen Land Conservancy’s 14th completed project in Cumberland County, and these projects in the area have added over 11,000 acres conserved by the organization according to the release.

“We’re proud to have partnered with the Morgans to permanently protect their rich and scenic property along the Obed River,” said Alice Hudson Pell, Interim Executive Director of TennGreen Land Conservancy. “Conserving land along Tennessee’s waterways is important for our economy, our social well-being, and the health of our communities. Protecting our lands and landscapes ensures us—and future generations—places to swim and paddle, and enables our fish and wildlife to thrive. The Obed Point conservation easement will protect the quality of these important waters and support our vibrant ecosystems for years to come.”

For more information about this project or TennGreen conservation easements, visit tenngreen.org, call (615) 329-4441, or email land@tenngreen.org.