Our Conservation Efforts

Our Conservation Efforts

The Wolf River Conservancy’s conservation efforts began in the mid 1980s with a focus on the 100-year floodplain. Detrimental effects of deforestation and river channelization were become blatantly clear.  Increased urban sprawl was putting more pressure on our diminishing streams and wetlands, and the Wolf River as we know it in Shelby County was in danger of losing the viability of its natural ecosystem. We hope founders of the Conservancy are proud, as we have protected more than 20,000 acres of quality lands that harbor important habitats and recharge the Memphis Sand Aquifer.  

Each property that we protect is not just an accomplishment we pin to a board; instead these precious protected acres are stories and places for us and our children to enjoy. Below are a few of our stories.

Ghost River Rescue

The saving of the Ghost River section of the Wolf River in 1995 is probably the Wolf River Conservancy’s most resounding success - a story we are proud to tell. There is not ample space on this webpage to relate the details of how paddlers, conservationists, Wolf River Conservancy members, and multiple state agencies worked together to save the Ghost River section, the 4,000 acre crown jewel of the Wolf River. They were motivated by the eminent threat to the area as well as its unique ecological values, and the fundraising required to secure it was unprecedented. Now known as the Ghost River State Natural Area, it adjoins the Wolf River Wildlife Management Area in Fayette County. The Conservancy has been partnering with the State of Tennessee to expand the area under protection to over 11,000 acres.

Forgotten Waters

The geologic tale of the Wolf River predates written history.  With names of Neshoba, Margot, Rivière du Loup, Wolf, and likely many more, the Wolf River has had countless meanders carved across the Mid-South landscape. The Forgotten Waters property contains many paleo-channels of the Wolf and one mile of frontage on the river we know today.  For decades, much of this property was an island cut off by two main channels of the Wolf River. Nowadays the former southern route of the Wolf is only discernible during flooding or as viewed from a drone or plane above. Old channels of the Wolf River still play an important role today in harboring flood waters and valuable wetland habitat that recharges the Memphis Sand Aquifer. Forgotten Waters has many stories to tell and benefits to preserve. Now permanently protected, this property will never be forgotten and can be cherished for generations to come.

Take a look at this short video we created when we protected this property:

If you are interested in learning more about land trusts and how your property or land easement can positively benefit our community, contact Ryan Hall.