The Piedmont View

Winter 2013 Piedmont View

This year's winter edition of the Piedmont View includes an introduction to new PEC Board Co-Chairs George Ohrstrom and Jean Perin, as well as articles about teaming up to save the eastern brook trout, renovating worn-out pastures, and county notes from across the Piedmont. You can read the individual articles online or view a PDF of the whole issue if you prefer.

PEC is excited to introduce the newly elected co-chairs of our Board—George Ohrstrom II of Clarke County and Jean Perin of Fauquier County!

Happy holidays! Thank you for taking the time in this busy season of family, friends, and holiday events to keep up with things happening at PEC. As you can see from this issue, your hard work and support has produced some very positive outcomes on many fronts— congratulations! I hope that you will share the news with your family and friends. Speaking of great company, I’d like to thank everyone who attended PEC’s Fall Meeting in October. It was a great success, and over 150 people attended despite the rain!

Virginia’s state fish, the eastern brook trout, is in trouble. The Commonwealth’s only native trout has seen a sharp decline in population due to a detrimental combination of rising temper­atures, physical barriers to streamflow, pollution, and habitat loss. Many expect the species to be added to VA’s Wildlife Action Plan list in the near future.

Like many Piedmont farms, Over Jordan Farm in Rappahannock has been a pasture-based operation for decades. After 20 years of overgrazing, however, it’s facing issues that are common in the region—poor soil health, a lack of grass and plant diversity and the resulting lack of nutri­ents for livestock.

David Holtzman joined PEC this summer as our new Land Use Field Officer for Culpeper and Greene counties, and the man likes to walk: “I usually take a walk on my lunch break, and I like to do that in a place where I’m not risking my life in the process.”

ALBEMARLE-- Donald Trump seems to be a man who’s used to getting his way, but he may be in for a surprise when it comes to his proposed golf course in Albemarle County. The Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) holds a conservation easement on the majority of the property where Trump is hoping to tee up, and the state agency has taken a firm stance against this proposal.

CLARKE-- Clarke County’s Spout Run watershed has the potential to provide clean water and support a large variety of wildlife species. Yet, the stream is on the State Impaired Waters List due to nutrient and sediment levels from fertilizers, livestock and other human-related activities. This is bad news not only for the wildlife and people living around the watershed, but also for communities downstream—including the Chesapeake Bay. 

LOUDOUN-- Loudoun County residents should be on the lookout for wasteful, sprawling development proposals. Currently, there are 24 active proposals that have been submitted to the County for consideration. Twenty of these proposals are residential and, if approved, would add another 9,800 residential units in Loudoun.

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) is an important state public agency that has taken part in conserving land in the Commonwealth since 1966. Today, VOF is the largest easement holder in Virginia, and PEC is proud to have partnered with them over the decades. Over the past two years, however, VOF reviewed and approved a number of new easements permit oil and gas drilling—including the potential for hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. “fracking”)—in areas that have little to no history of energy extraction.

CULPEPER, FAUQUIER, ORANGE -- PEC’s staff follows Comp Plan updates and revisions in our nine-county region closely, and we’re currently keeping a sharp eye on the process in Culpeper, Fauquier and Orange Counties.

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