CHARLESTON — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has reached an agreement with landowner James Kennedy to exchange a 306-acre parcel of its land in Tallahatchie County for a tract of York Woods, Kennedy’s conservation-easement property.
USFWS is acquiring land that appraises at a higher amount than the 306-acre parcel and will use it as a wildlife habitat. The public also will be able to access the land for outdoor enjoyment.
“Tallahatchie County has untouched pieces of nature,” said Kennedy. “This land exchange will help preserve the area and provide public access for current and future generations to enjoy the outdoors.”
USFWS has responsibility in Mississippi for 51 listed species, 10 candidate species and numerous species at risk.
Stephen Gard, project leader for the North Mississippi Refuges Complex commented: “This land exchange is a win for both parties and we very much appreciate Mr. Kennedy’s willingness to work with us. The exchange will create additional public hunting areas on both Coldwater River and Tallahatchie National Wildlife Refuges. Conservation of our natural resources by the private sector is the key to future generations enjoying these resources. Mr. Kennedy not only enjoys our natural resources, but he invests his personal resources to ensure future generations will also be able to enjoy them.”
Kennedy is donating $350,000 to the USFWS through Ducks Unlimited to further support public usage and habitat restoration of the Tallahatchie and Coldwater River National Wildlife Refuges.
Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises, is a fervent conservationist of waterfowl and wildlife habitat. He recently donated real estate to create Mississippi State University’s (MSU) Carsie Clark and Diane Worthington Young Wetland Education Theater. He also increased a previously established endowment for MSU’s James C. Kennedy Chair in Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation.