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For immediate release: September 30, 2015

Reaching a unique milestone, Fauquier has become the first county in Virginia to reach 100,000 acres of land permanently protected by conservation easements.

“This achievement represents the collective investment of hundreds of landowners, farmers and families in a beautiful landscape and strong rural economy in Fauquier County, for generations to come,” said Chris Miller, President of The Piedmont Environmental Council. “Every day, local residents and visitors to the region benefit from that investment.”

Which property put Fauquier over the 100,000-acre mark? Wainbur Farm-- a working dairy located in the southern part of the County.

Three generations of the Burton family have owned and operated the farm. In 2010, they entered into an agreement through Fauquier County’s Purchase of Development Rights Program to conserve 396 acres of their property. Then, in July of this year, they conserved an additional 167 acres, which pushed Fauquier over the threshold of 100,000 acres.

“We wanted to conserve the land to keep development away from it, and keep it farmland,” said Harold Burton, part owner of Wainbur Farm.

“The PDR Program focuses on the protection of working farms, and the County leads the Commonwealth in PDR participation,” said Ray Pickering, Director of Fauquier County Department of Agricultural Development. “Not only did the Burtons conserve their land, but they’ve done a tremendous job of soil and water conservation on their farm.”

The family has also implemented a number of best management practices, which include having a nutrient management plan and adding buffers to over 1 mile of stream frontage.

Part of the total acreage protected through conservation easements in Fauquier includes 4,115 acres of wetlands and 395 miles of streams in the Rappahannock, Occoquan and Goose Creek watersheds. This protected land benefits the area’s wildlife, increases water quality and helps ensure clean drinking water.

“When the Virginia Outdoors Foundation recorded its first easement in Fauquier in 1973, private land conservation was still in its infancy,” says Leslie Grayson, Deputy Director of VOF. “Few could have imagined the breadth of conservation programs and initiatives that are available to Fauquier landowners today.”

Another advantage of the County’s conservation efforts includes the protection of 9,932 acres of Civil War Battlefield, 39,256 acres of forest and 50,369 acres of prime farmland.

"This is an amazing conservation achievement. And here at Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, we're pleased to be looking at opportunities to protect additional land within the more developed areas of Fauquier County," said Peggy Stevens, Executive Director of NVCT.

Leslie VanSant, Executive Director of Land Trust of Virginia, added, “Fauquier County’s strong plan and vision support growth around its towns while facilitating conservation easements which preserve the countryside, making this a remarkable and beautiful place to live and visit.”

Contacts:

Paula Combs
PR Manager and Senior Editor
The Piedmont Environmental Council
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(540) 347-2334 ext. 7021

Ray Pickering
Director
Fauquier County
540-422-8280
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jason McGarvey
Communications and Outreach Manager,
Virginia Outdoors Foundation
804-786-9603,
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Leslie VanSant
Executive Director
The Land Trust of Virginia
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(540) 687-8441

Michele Braithwaite
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Northern Virginia Conservation Trust
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(703) 354-5093

 
 
 

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