On the Ground Conservation – Spring 2013


Bowers Family Donates Property to PEC

The Bowers Family made a generous donation of nearly 160 acres to PEC in 2012. This land—adjacent to the Hickory Ridge Farm subdivision near Earlysville—will be permanently conserved as a rural property by PEC. The property features mixed hardwood forests and a wooded stream valley, which helps protect the Rivanna River watershed.

In total, over 1,500 acres of land in Albemarle were protected in 2012 by conservation easements. This brings the privately protected land in the County to approximately 87,00 acres—or 19% of the land outside of Shenandoah National Park. Albemarle County is one of the most protected counties in Virginia.

“It’s great to see landowners in the county continuing to make a commitment to preserving our rural resources—including our waterways, working farmland and forests,” says Rex Linville, PEC’s Albemarle County Land Conservation Officer. “Many of the conservation projects in 2012 added to, or linked together, what were already large blocks of protected land.”


Nine Clarke Properties Conserved in 2012

Nine properties in Clarke County—totaling 782 acres—were protected by conservation easements in 2012. This brings the total protected land in the County to over 21,480 acres, or 19% of the land in Clarke.

Among the easements was a 121-acre farmland property owned by M.S. Buckley & Son (adjacent to the Greenway Rural Historic District). This easement will conserve the prime farmland soils that the Buckley family has been farming since 1882. It will also help protect the headwaters of Westbrook Run, a tributary of Spout Run.

PEC is proud to have been able to provide a portion of the funding for this project through our Clarke Conservation Fund. This easement represents one of three farmland easements held by the Clarke County Easement Authority that PEC’s Clarke Fund is contributing to in 2012 and 2013. PEC also holds two easements in the County and co-holds another—protecting over 370 acres in Clarke.


Culpeper Civil War Battlefields Protected

A total of 1,243 acres of Battlefield properties were protected with conservation easements in Culpeper County in 2012. This brings the total protected land in the County to over 14,800 acres, or 6% of the total land in Culpeper.

“As a Culpeper resident,” says Heather Richards, PEC’s Vice President for Conservation and Rural Programs, “I am thankful for the landowners who have worked to protect our community’s natural and cultural resources for today and for generations to come.”

Mtn. Valley Farm and the Triple S Land Management Tract were among the Culpeper properties protected last year. Mtn. Valley Farm is a 241-acre historic farm that is within the Brandy Station Battlefield study area, as des-ignated by the American Battlefield Protection Program. The Triple S Land Management Tract is a family-owned farm, and the 964-acre property lies entirely within Kelly’s Ford, Brandy Station, and Rappahannock Station II Battlefields. The protection of these two properties will contribute to water quality in the Rappahannock River, which provides drinking water to the City of Fredericks-burg and other downstream communities.


Historic Fauquier Scenic Vista Protected

Fauquier County has long been a leader in land conservation, and 2012 was no different—2,115 acres in Fauquier County were permanently protected by conservation easements in last year. This adds to a total of approximately 96,600 acres, or 23% of the total land in the County.

“These easements protect our working farmlands, waterways, forest lands, historic battlefields & districts, and the scenic vistas that continue to draw tourists, year after year,” says Heather Richards, PEC’s Vice President for Conservation and Rural Programs.

The 481-acre Ovoka Farm was among the properties protected in 2012. PEC purchased this land in 2000, and the property was permanently protected with an easement May 2012—ensuring that the vista that George Washington enjoyed each morning as he left his cabin in Paris remains rural and open for generations to come. PEC now protects over 3,000 acres in Fauquier by holding three easements and co-holding 17 easements in the County.


Three New Properties Preserved in Greene

Three conservation easements were recorded in Greene County in 2012. Together, they protect an additional 144 acres—bringing the total privately protected land in the County to over 10,100 acres.. PEC currently holds four easements in Greene—conserving over 340 acres.

“These three conservation projects add significantly to the protected agricultural and forestry land in the County,” says Rex Linville, PEC’s Greene County Land Conservation Officer. “They are protecting approximately half a mile of stream frontage in Greene County, as well as over 50 acres of prime agricultural soils.”

One of the highlights from 2012 was the protection of a 160-acre farm that straddles the Greene and Albemarle County line—along Sylvia Ridge Road—donated by Agnes Fotta. This easement protected approximately 50 acres of exceptionally scenic farmland in Greene County and added to a growing conservation corridor along this road.


Protecting Loudoun from Sprawl

Seven properties in Loudoun County, totaling more than 730 acres, were protected by conservation easements in 2012. This brings the County’s total to nearly 51,000 acres or 15% of the total land. In Loudoun County, PEC owns almost 70 acres of fee-simple property.

“Since the late 1990s, landowners in Loudoun have placed over 35,000 acres of land in easements,” says Mike Kane, PEC’s Loudoun Land Conservation Officer. “I believe this is a conservation success story, and it means the protection of natural, cultural, and agricultural resources that are the bedrock of Loudoun’s vibrant rural economy.”

Jeremy Lee and his mother, Susan Lee, were among the landowners who donated an easement in 2012. They conserved their 239-acre property located near Lucketts—protecting what could have been a 47-lot residential subdivision. This historically significant farmstead is a part of the Catoctin Rural Historic District. It also contains a rare wetland known as the “Piedmont Upland Depression Swamp” and about one mile of perennial streams that flow into Limestone Branch. As development continues to impact groundwater in this area of Loudoun County, protection of this land is significant.


Madison Landowners Protect Riverfront Lands

Five properties in Madison were protected by conservations easements in 2012—including two properties on the Middle River. Now, approximately 6,150 acres along the Middle River—over 11 miles of its banks—are protected in Madison. This means the preservation of important working forests, as well as clean water for County residents and those downstream.

“I’m impressed with the number of landowners who are interested in working with PEC and others to conserve local waterways,” says Peter Hujik, PEC’s Madison Land Conserva-tion Officer. “Their efforts are beginning to add up.”

Karl and Teressa Beier donated an easement to PEC in 2012—conserving their property along the Robinson River in Weakley Hollow. This move consolidated a number of residential parcels along the river—creating a protected gateway to Shenandoah National Park. PEC has partnered with several Madison landowners over the past few year to conserve critical lands like these. Currently, PEC holds three easements in Madison—protecting over 200 acres of land.


Over 1,400 Acres Protected in Orange in 2012

More than 1,400 acres in Orange County were protected by conservation easements in 2012—bringing the total in the County over 32,600 acres. Easements help to protect valuable natural and cultural resources, such as forests, watersheds, farmland, and historic lands.

“Orange County is a great example of the growing number of conservation-minded landowners,” says Peter Hujik, PEC’s new Orange County Land Conservation Offi-cer. “These people are shaping the future of the County by ensuring that working farms and forests remain an integral part of the rural economy.”

The 600-acre Collins Farm was one of the Orange properties protected last year. The farm is owned by James Collins and his wife, Virginia Donelson, and it encompasses one of the largest working forests in the area. This forest has been sustainably harvested for generations, and it provides valuable wildlife habitat.

Another easement completed in 2012 was on Andrewsia, a property located just outside the Town of Orange. This land, once slated for more than 300 houses, was donated in fee to PEC in 2009. PEC has now protected this land with an easement—ensuring that it will remain open, viable, scenic farmland for generations to come. In Orange County, PEC is permanently protecting 1,570 acres of land by holding two easements and co-holding six others.


PEC Acquires Key Property Adjacent to National Park

Thanks to the generosity of Larry and Ria Finch, as well as a grant from the Krebser Fund, PEC acquired 17-acres adjacent to the Shenandoah National Park Wilderness Area in 2012. PEC plans to transfer the property to the National Park Service this year—adding an additional buffer to the Wilderness Area of the Park. By adding this small but critical property to the Park, PEC will help NPS staff better manage the Wilderness area and prevent bear poaching.

In total, seven properties in Rappahannock County— totaling over 1,120 acres—were protected by conservation easements in 2012. This contributes to a total of over 30,400 acres protected through easements in the county. Today, over 47% of the land in Rappahannock is either in easement or is protected by Shenandoah National Park.

Four easements recorded in Rappahannock in 2012 contributed to the protection of over 2.5 miles of the Jor-dan and Rappahannock Rivers—both designated scenic rivers. These easements are helping to protect the water quality of these important rivers.