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Over 6,500 Acres Protected in Virginia’s Northern Piedmont in 2014 Over 6,500 acres in The Piedmont Environmental Council’s nine-county service region were permanently protected by conservation easements* in 2014. This brings the total acreage of land under conservation easement in the region to just over 375,000 acres.

"2014 saw the permanent protection of 60 different properties. Every conservation easement is different, but each protects specific conservation values that provide a broad benefit to the public -- like working farms and forests, or historic, cultural or scenic resources," said Chris Miller, The Piedmont Environmental Council President. “Protecting these conservation values provides all residents of Virginia with fresh local food and a thriving rural economy, clean air and water, and an amazing natural environment to enjoy.”

Last year, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation conducted a survey of 631 landowners with land under conservation easement, and they determined that “90 percent of those landowners are managing their protected lands for agricultural production or forestry.” Also, “73 percent said the protected land was either important or essential to their livelihoods.” Lands protected by conservation easements in the Piedmont last year, such as Ivy Hill Farm in Clarke County, help protect our vital agricultural industry.

One of the conservation highlights in 2014 was the protection in the Goose Creek Rural Historic District of over 186 acres of farmland that was owned by the late Dr. Joseph Rogers, of Hamilton, Virginia. Instrumental in creating the historic district, Dr. Rogers was a well known Loudoun County farmer, accomplished equestrian, and avid advocate for rural land conservation. Dr. Rogers had conserved over 900 acres of his family's Hillbrook Farm during his lifetime and, after passing away in March 2014, the Rogers' family donated another conservation easement preserving the additional farmland. With the most recent donation by the Rogers, more than 2,765 acres or 31 percent of Goose Creek Rural Historic District's scenic and historic landscape has been permanently protected by conservation easements.

When it comes to the tax incentives available to landowners who voluntarily give up their development potential, the VOF’s survey also revealed “that landowners are reinvesting tax credits back into their businesses.” And that “61 percent of landowners used the credits to sustain, expand, or start a new agricultural or forestry operation.”

Approximate county-by-county conservation totals in the Piedmont region are as follows:
County Acres Protected in 2014 by Conservation Easements
Total Acres Protected by Conservation Easements
 

County

County Acres Protected in

2014 by Conservation Easements

Total Acres Protected by Conservation Easements
Albemarle  2,786  92,886
Clarke  429   23,679
Culpeper  759  16,759
Fauquier  1,574  99,322
Greene  0  10,380
Loudoun  727  52,802
Madison  22  14,384
Orange  67  34,142
Rappahannock  116

 31,366

REGIONAL  6,480  375,720

 

In total, conservation easements in PEC's nine county region now protect approximately:

  • 1,558 miles of streams
  • 9,089 acres of wetlands
  • 176,660 acres of prime farming soils
  • 175,786 acres of forests
  • 102,188 acres along Scenic Byways
  • 113,047 acres in the viewshed of the Appalachian Trail
  • 120,749 acres in historic districts
  • 27,708 acres of Civil War battlefields

 

*A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement between a landowner and a land trust (such as a public agency or a non-profit conservation group like PEC) to permanently protect natural, scenic, and cultural resources on their land.

PEC's 2014 Conservation Map Library >> 

PEC’s service area includes Albemarle, Clarke, Culpeper, Fauquier, Greene, Loudoun, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock counties.

More information on Conservation Easements >>

 

 
 
 

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