If you would like to view past editions of the VIRGINIAforever quarterly newsletter, click on the following links: Q2 2013; Q1 2013; Q3 2012; Q1 2012; Q2 2011; Q1 2011; Q4 2010; Q3 2010; Q2 2010; Q1 2010
Mark your calendar: June 1 is Clean the Bay Day
The 25th Annual Clean the Bay Day will be held on Saturday, June 1, 2013 at hundreds of sites throughout the Commonwealth. Clean the Bay Day is a massive Virginia-wide stream cleanup in which thousands of volunteers dedicate their time to clear debris from Virginia's shorelines and waterways. In 2012, 6,800 volunteers from communities across Virginia removed more than 150,000 pounds of debris from nearly 500 miles of streams and shoreline. To learn how you can participate, visit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation website. Virginia State Parks will also offer special activities and programs on June 1 as part of Clean the Bay Day. Each of the 20 Virginia State Parks in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed will host Clean the Bay Day events. For more information, visit the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation website.
Final regulations published for the state’s first agricultural resource management plans
In early May, the final regulations for Virginia’s first agricultural resource management plans were published. The plans were approved by the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board and are designed to encourage farmers to use a high level of conservation best management practices to reduce runoff pollution to state waters and the Chesapeake Bay. In return for full implementation of these plans, farmers are granted “safe harbor” from relevant state water quality requirements. Read more in this News Leader story.
Sussex County family protects land through conservation easement with Virginia Department of Forestry
The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) and Consulting Forester Hunter Darden developed a Forest Stewardship Management Plan that allowed the Guy family to uphold a long-term family commitment to improve the quality of a 306-acre tract of forestland in Sussex County. Through establishing a conservation easement with VDOF, the family will have perpetual protection from development of the land. Learn more about the Guy family story from the VDOF website and in this Daily Press article.
Oysters may be valuable in ongoing efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay
A study published in Marine Ecology Progress Series by Lisa Kellogg at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science found that oysters are able to remove nitrogen from water, which could make them a valuable mechanism in Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts. The researchers quantified the ability of restored oyster reefs to remove harmful nutrients including nitrogen and phosphorous that run into the bay from fertilizers and wastewater treatment plants. The study showed that a restored oyster reef can remove up to 10 times more nitrogen from Chesapeake Bay waters than an unrestored area nearby. Read more in this Daily Press article.
Sara Benghauser to serve as Assistant Secretary of Natural Resources
Governor Bob McDonnell recently appointed Sara Benghauser to serve as Assistant Secretary of Natural Resources. Benghauser manages legislative affairs and the regulatory review process in the Natural Resources Secretariat, aids in policy development, and works to ensure that the Governor's natural resources and energy priorities are advanced. She also provides oversight for Natural Resource Boards and Commissions. To learn more, read the Governor’s press release and this Virginia Business article.
Virginia celebrates Earth Day
April 22, 2013 marked the 43rd celebration of Earth Day, and hundreds of organizations across the Commonwealth participated in the day’s activities. Earth Day activities included a plant sale at the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park in Big Stone Gap, tree planting events in Pocahontas in Chesterfield County, and a flower bed installation at Sky Meadows State Park in Faquier County. Read more here about the events hosted by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Virginia’s Secretary of Natural Resources, Doug Domenech, celebrated Earth Day by presenting a check to the Clarke County Easement Authority for $158,807 for two easement projects, which will conserve 208 acres of land. These funds were distributed through the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation. Read more about these projects on the Secretary’s website.
Virginia Environmental Excellence Award Winners Announced
Governor Bob McDonnell recently announced the winners of the 2013 Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards, which were presented at the Environment Virginia Symposium in Lexington. The awards recognize the significant contributions of environmental and conservation leaders in two categories -- sustainability and land conservation -- and are given to businesses and industrial facilities, not-for-profit organizations and government agencies. Locally, Chesterfield County's fleet management and environmental divisions received E4 designations. To view the full list of winners from the Governor's press release, click here. To read more about Chesterfield County's VEEP awards from the Chesterfield Observer, click here.
Roanoke Hosts Seventh Annual Statewide Land Conservation Conference
The seventh annual Statewide Land Conservation Conference took place at Hotel Roanoke over a two-day period in mid-April. The event was hosted by The Blue Ridge Land Conservancy (formerly the Western Virginia Land Trust) and explored numerous issues surrounding the vitality of land conservation in the commonwealth. . To read the entire article from the Roanoke Star, click here.
$340,000 Allocated to Curb Pollution in Old Mines
The Commonwealth of Virginia will soon award $340,000 to projects that will reduce pollution from acid mine damage in the Powerll River watershed in Southwest Virginia. The awards are part of an ongoing effort to remediate damage from acid mine drainage from abandoned coal mines. The Virginia Water Quality Improvement Act funds will be awarded after the 30-day public comment period ends on May 22. To read the full text from Virginia Business, click here.
Sec. Domenech Talks Governor's Environmental Goals
Secretary of Natural Resouces Doug Domenech recently took part in a question-and-answer session with Virginia Business magazine regarding the status of Governor McDonnell's environmental goals and potential challenges on the horizon. Topics touched on include the health of the Chesapeake Bay, the governor's land conservation goal and his all-of-the-above energy strategy, and the shrinking groundwater supply in the eastern part of the state. To read the entire article and interview with Sec. Domenech from Virginia Business, click here.
Virginians Encouraged to Participate in USDA's StrikeForce Initiative
The United States Department of Agriculture recently announced that its StrikeForce initiative has been extended into Virginia. The StrikeForce initiative focuses on increasing outreach and technical assistance to communities on USDA loan and grant programs. To read more about the StrikeForce initiative, click here.
Shenandoah Forum Workshop to Focus on Land Protection
Shenandoah Forum, which promotes Shenandoah County's agricultural heritage, the environment and a sustainable economy, will host a farm-to-table dinner and workshop on Wednesday, April 10 at Edinburg Mill with Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Matt Lohr acting as the event's guest speaker. To read more about the event from the Northern Virginia Daily, click here.
James Riverfest Aims to Grow in Second Year
The James River Association will host the second annual James Riverfest on Saturday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Eco Discovery Park at the Jamestown Yacht Basin. The free festival, which was attended by more than 600 visitors last year, promotes awareness of the James River Association. The day-long event on Earth Day features live music by local bands, hands-on kids' activities, stand-up paddleboard and kayak demonstrations, and tours by Black Dog Paddle and Chesapeake Experience. To read more about the event from the Virginia Gazette, click here.
Kovenock Named "Arlington Conservationist of the Year"
The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust named Paul Kovenock its "Arlington Conservationist of the Year" at a ceremony held March 12 at the HIlton Alexandria Mark Center Hotel. He has worked diligently for the past 15 years to improve the county's parks and remove invasive species. Kovenock was a founding member of the Alexandria-Arlington Tree Stewards and served as a member of the county government’s Urban Force and the Northern Virginia Urban Forestry Roundtable. He also has been active in Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment. To view the complete article from the Sun Gazette, click here.
Potomac River Sturgeon In Danger of Extinction
With the last documented catch of an Atlantic sturgeon in the Potomac River occuring in the 1970's, the Interstate Commision on the Potomac River Basin had thrown its support behind a Maryland and U.S. Fish and Wildlife plan to use 60 domesticated sturgeon from New York's Hudson River to restock the Potomac. Unfortunately, to preserve the genetic purity of the animals under the Endangered Species Act, that may not be feasible. To read the article in its entirety from the Washington Post, click here.
Central Virginia Land Conservancy Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary
The Central Virginia Land Conservancy (CVLC) recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. The nonprofit, all-volunteer organization works to protect local landscaps in the counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Campbell and Nelson. Last year, CVLC was able to record 15 easements protection more than 3,300 acres. To read more about the CVLC's initiatives for the upcoming year, click here.
Piedmont Environmental Council Announces Protection of 730 Acres
The Piedmont Environmental Council recently announced that 730 acres in Loudoun County were preseved in conservation easements last year. The new easements were spread among seven properties, bringing the county's total of eased land to nearly 51,000 acres or 15 percent of the county. To read more about the properties involved from the Leesburg Today, click here.
Virginia Utilizing New Strategy to Tackle Water Quality Concerns
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Department of Environmental Quality are implementing a new approach to deal with water quality concerns arising on small farms that raise livestock or poultry. The new approach is site specific, allowing for flexibility based on the type of operation, and emphasizes voluntary implementation of best management practices. To read the article in its entirety on the Augusta Free Press website, click here.
Attendance Record Set at Virginia State Parks in 2012
The trend of increased attendance at Virginia's 35 state parks continued in 2012, marking the best year on record to date. With 8,366,179 vistors, last year's total was a 7-percent increase over 2011 and topped the previous record (8,065,558) set in 2010 by 4 percent. To read the entire story from the Kingsport Times-News, click here.
Virginia Outdoors Foundation Protects 26,375 Acres of Open Space in 2012
The Virginia Outdoors Foundation permanently protected 26,375 acres of open space through 127 conservation easements in 2012. VOF recorded easements in 53 localities, including about 120 miles of streams, 11,000 acres of U.S. Department of Agriculture-designated high quality farm soils, and 1,700 acres along state-designated scenic roads and rivers, among other conservation values. VOF now protects about 675,000 acres— more than 1,000 square miles—across 107 localities. To read more from the Lurary-Page Free Press, click here.
250 Acres Along Roanoke River Put in Conservation Easement
Roanoke businessman and agritourism advocate Al Hammond and his wife Nancy recently put 250 acres of their Glenburn farm under a conservation easement with the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy. Hammond has spent years piecing back together his family farm in Roanoke and Bedford counties, which spans more than 360 acres. The Hammonds had already placed 88 acres under a conservation easement in 2006 with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. To view the full article from the Roanoke Star, click here.
New Report Finds Improvement in Health of Chesapeake Bay
A Chesapeake Bay Foundation report found that crabs, oysters and bay water oxygen levels in the Chesapeake Bay improved in 2012. Underwater grasses, which were hurt by high water temperatures and heavy rains, were the only bay health indicator that worsened in 2012. To read the Associated Press article posted on the Richmond Times-Dispatch website, click here.
Water Quality Trading Could Be Limited for Farmers
The Environmental Protection Agency believes water quality trading can help reduce nutrient and sediment, however, farmers may not be able to take advantage of the program. Participation for farmers will be sparse if the baseline for trading non-point sources of pollution in based on more stringent agricultural practices than what are currently in place. In Virginia, the state has a very stringent baseline criteria which requires the presence of five water quality management practices - a soil conservation plan, a nutrient management plan, a cereal crop cover, stream buffers and livestock fencing - as the base. To read the entire article from the Southeast Farm Press website, click here.
Virginia Awards 12 Conservation Grants Totaling $1.55 Million
A dozen grants totaling $1.55 million have been awarded by the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation to protect 1,642 acres of farm and forestland, natural areas and historic tracts. The grants, which require a minimum 50 percent match, are going to the Shenandoah Battlefields Foundation, the Civil War Trust and to Sundance LLC, among others. To read the entire article from the NBC 29 website, click here.
Virginia One of Three States Chosen for Offshore Energy Pilot Program
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced last week that Virginia will be one of three states included in the first-ever offshore renewable energy lease sale. However, wind tax credits are scheduled to expire before the end of the year and many fear Congress won't take action in time. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management estimates that about 23 nautical miles will support more than 2,000 megawatts of wind generation and produce enough electricity to power 7,000 homes. To read the entire article from the Public News Service, click here.
Chelsea Plantation Acres Placed in Conservation Easement
Chelsea Plantation, which is located in King William County, will be safeguarded for future generations thanks to a conservation easement purchase by the Williamsburg Land Conservancy. The property is owned by William W. Richardson, III, whose family has owned the property since the late 1950s. The easement will cover 568 of the 1,580 acres of the property. To read the entire article from the Virginia Gazette, click here.
Norfolk Southern Teams with Nature Conservancy on Dismal Swamp Project
The Norfolk Southern Foundation recently granted the Nature Conservancy $25,000 to assist with installation of two water control systems that will assist with water flow and reduce the threat of wildfires in the Dismal Swamp. To read the full article from the Virginian-Pilot, click here.
Clean Water Act Turns 40, Still Work to Do on James River
Forty years ago this month, the Clean Water Act passed insuring our lakes, rivers and streams throughout the country were provided some level of protection. Due to the Act, the James River is arguably the most improved river in the country but still has a long way to go before reaching full health. To read the entire essay from the James River Association's Jamie Brunkow, which ran in the Virginia Gazette, click here.
VIMS Receives Federal Grant to Protect Chesapeake Bay Wetlands
The Environmental Protection Agency recently granted the Virginia Institute of Marine Science nearly $1 million over a three-year period to develop tools to protect wetlands that prevent pollutants from entering the Chesapeake Bay. The effort will be led by Carl Hershner, director of the Center for Coastal Resources Management at VIMS. To read the Associated Press article which appeared on WAVY-TV's website, click here.
Governor Announces 11 Battlefield Preservation Grants
Governor Bob McDonnell recnetly announced 11 state grant awards to organizations working to conserve historic battlefield lands. The $2,620,500 in funds will come from the Civil War Historic Sites Preservation Fund, which was established in 2010 by the Governor and the General Assembly. To read the entire article from the Lurary Page Free Press, click here.
Localities Take Aim at Stormwater Pollution and Runoff
Arlington County and the City of Falls Church are turning to local businesses and residents to help reduce stormwater pollution. Arlington County recently received $80,000 in matching funds from the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund and will use the money to continue its StormwaterWiseLandscapes Program, which provides cost-sharing grants to residents, businesses and homeowner associations to install landscape projects aimed at stemming runoff. Falls Church has partnered with the EPA and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay in its efforts to find voluntary solutions to help reduce pollution and stormwater volume. To read the entire article from the Washington Post, click here.
Strasburg Awarded $3.18 Million Grant for New Wastewater Treatment Plant
Strasburg officials received welcome news as the town prepares to build a new wastewater treatment plant. After initially applying for a grant through the Department of Environmental Quality's Water Quality Improvement Fund which town officials figured would amount to around $2 million, they found out they were officially rewarded with a grant totalling $3.18 million. While the ultimate cost of the new plant is still yet to be determined, it will save residents money as it will be substantially less money that will need to be financed over the long-term. To view the full text from the Northern Virginia Daily, click here.
State Parks Recognize National Public Lands Day Sept. 29
Virginia State Parks hosted special events in all 35 state parks in recognition of National Public Lands Day on Saturday, Sept. 29. National Public Lands Day is the nation's largest volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands Americans enjoy. It is an opportunity to reconnect and improve these special places that are a proud American tradition. To read the entire article from the Smith Mountain Eagle, click here.
Environmental Groups Say Offshore Wind Projects Could Lead to Onshore Jobs
A report released today by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) says wind energy will create jobs - up to 300,000 overall - and help stave off climate change. The report is also supported by the the Sierra Club and the National Audubon Society, who consider climate change as the major threat to living creatures. To read the full text from the Virginia's Public News Service, click here.
Gerald McCarthy Retiring from Virginia Environmental Endowment
Gerald McCarthy, executive director of the Virginia Environmental Endowment, is set to retire next year after 35 years on the job. Founded in 1977, the VEE has awarded about 1,250 grants totalling more than $27 million. To read the entire article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, click here.
Centarl Virginia Land Conservancy Stresses Importance of Easements
The Central Virginia Land Conservancy, and Conservation Partners, LLC, a nonprofit company based in Lexington that aids landowners in the conservation easement process, held an information meeting to assist landowners interested in the conservation easement process. Easements protect Virginia’s viewsheds, farms and wildlife habitats, and also protect lands that are used for recreation like fishing and hiking. To read the entire article from the New Era Progress, click here.
$1.5 Million in Land Conservation Grants Available
Virginia is offering landowners $1.5 million in state grants for land conservation. Applications will be accepted through October 24, with a minimum application of $5,000 and at least a 50 percent match is required. Public bodies such as state agencies, local governments, regional park authorities, soil and water conservation districts and nonprofits may apply. To read the entire article from the News & Advance, click here.
Virginia Tops in 2011 Chespeake Bay Wetlands Restoration
Virginia was at the head of the class in terms of wetlands restoration in the Chesapeake Bay watershed last year, restoring 1,653 acres of 3,775 total acres of wetlands. Maryland was second with 750 acres, followed by New York (625), West Virginia (369), Pennsylvania (254) and Delaware (123). To read the entire article from the Wall Street Journal, click here.
Plans Announced for 2,384 Acres in Isle of Wight
Five miles of undisturbed forest, sand hills and waterfront in Isle of Wight County along the Blackwater River will be preserved by the state, protecting it from future development. Officials are still debating how to utilize the land but it has the potential for ecotourism activities and limited timbering. To read the entire article from the Virginian-Pilot, click here.
Budget Surplus Means $16.9 Million for Water Quality Improvement Fund
Governor Bob McDonnell announced that better than expected revenues and unspent appropriations helped create a general fund surplus of nearly $450 million for the fiscal year ending June 30. This was good news for Virginia's Water Quality Improvement Fund which will receive a $16.9 million allocation to assist with cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. To read the full article from the Washington Times, click here.
Northern Virginia Conservation Trust Wins Sally Ormsby Award
The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) has been named the winner of the 2012 Sally Ormsby Environmental Stewardship Award by the Fairfax County Parks Authority. The NVCT was founded in 1994 and has preserved land, more than 5,421 acres, and historic structures in Arlington, Fairfax County and several other Northern Virginia localities. The NVCT currently holds 97 conservation easements and owns 21 properties across the region. To read the entire article from the Sun Gazette, click here.
Youth Conservation Corps Program Helps Protect State Parks
For the 10th consecutive year, the Youth Conservation Corps, a national program where 14-to 17-year-olds help preserve America's parks, has teens and colleged aged supervisors at James River State Park in Buckingham County. The 12 teens and three supervisors participating in the program have been at the park since July 23. The program is sponsored in Virginia by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, which pays for the crew members' living expenses and a $500 stipend. To learn more about the program from the Nelson County Times, click here.
$1.62 Million in Stormwater Grants Offered by VDCR
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation says state and federal funds will be available in grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 to cities, towns, counties and soil and water conservation districts. The funding comes in response to legislation passed during the 2012 General Assembly session calling for all Virginia counties and localities to create local stormwater management programs. To view the entire article from the Washington Post, click here.
Virginia Budget Surplus To Bring $12.3 Million to Water Quality Fund
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell announced on July 30 that the Commonwealth had posted a $129.2 million revenue surplus for the fiscal year ending June 30. Much of the surplus, $78.6 million, is going to the rainy day fund while another $12.3 million is earmarked for the Water Quality Fund. Governor McDonnell hopes to use a portion of the money left over for bonuses for state employees. To view the entire article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, click here.
Op-Eds in Richmond Times-Dispatch Highlight Bay Cleanup, Land Conservation
VIRGINIAforever Board Member Ann Jennings and former member Michael Lipford recently penned opinion editorials that ran the Richmond Times-Dispatch over the weekend. Ms. Jennings, who is also the executive director of the Cheseapeake Bay Foundation, chronicled Virginia's challenge in the cleaning up the Bay and the significant progress that has been made to date. Lipford, the executive director of the Nature Conservancy, took the opportunity to stress the importance of land conservation and meeting Governor McDonnell's stated goal of preserving more than 400,000 acres of land during his administration. To view Ms. Jennings' op-ed, click here. To view the Lipford piece, click here.
Virginia Ahead of Commitments to Reduce Wastewater Pollution in Bay
Governor Bob McDonnell has reported that the Commonwealth is outpacing its commitments to reduce pollution from wastewater treatment plants into the Chesapeake Bay. Signficant reductions of nitrogren and phosphorus put the state on track to meet its pollution reduction goals for a clean Bay. To view the entire article from the Washington Post, click here.
Virginia Beaches Rank Among the Best for Water Quality
Virginia's rate of contamination of beach water samples last year were among the lowest of coastal states, according to a recent report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The Commonwealth ranked sixth out of 30 states in 2011 according the organization's report, "Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches." To view the entire article from the Virginian-Pilot, click here.
Museum of Natural History Kicks Off Summer Camp
The Virginia Museum of Natural History's 2012 summer camp session is underway, kicking off the inaugural week with "Stream Team." "Stream Team" teaches campers, age 12 to 14, the importance of healthy streams and rivers. Campers paddled and hiked, received lessons on water quality and conservation, and the protection of other natural resources. To view the entire article from the Martinsville Bulletin, click here.
Richmond Riverfront Plan Delayed
The City of Richmond's Planning Council recently delayed approval of the city's riverfront plan over concerns of preserving views of the James River and replacing the Mayo Bridge. Local groups offering resistance - Falls of the James Scenic River Advisory Committee, the Partnership for Smarter Growth, Scenic Virginia, Preservation Virginia and the Church Hill Association - praised the plan's ambition but would like to see some adjustments made to parking, preservation of more public land and aesthetic concerns. To view the entire article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, click here.
Virginia Beach Ponders Use for Preserved Land
Virginia Beach officials are in the process of deciding how to use the 177-acre plot called Pleasure House Point, a coveted, major swath of land along the Lynnhaven River. The Pleasure House Point Stakeholder Committee met last week to develop suggestions for the City and the ideas generated will help form a set of guiding principles that will be submitted to the City to help shape the site's future. To view the entire article from the Virginian-Pilot, click here.
Conservation Service Looks to Improve Water Quality in Campbell County
The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications from agricultural producers and forest landowners in Campbell County who wish to implement conservation practices to improve water quality. This year Virginia will receive nearly $500,000 statewide to implement these practices through a new National Water Quality Initiative. To view the entire article from the News & Advance, click here.
VIRGINIAforever Board Members' Op-Ed Appears in Richmond Times-Dispatch
Board Members Bill Street, executive vice president of the James River Foundation, and Dennis Treacy, executive vice president and chief sustainability officer at Smithfield Foods, Inc., penned an op-ed extolling the virtues of sustainability and corporate social responsibility as we celebrate Earth Day, which ran in Sunday's Richmond Times-Dispatch. To view the entire opinion editorial, click here.
Governor McDonnell Hosts Sustainability Roundtable
VIRGINIAforever Board Members Bill Street (James River Foundation), Dennis Treacy (Smithfield Foods) and Bob Blue (Dominion), along with representatives from Altria, Mead Westvaco and others, took part in Governor Bob McDonnell's corporate sustainability conference held on Monday, April 23. At the conference, McDonnell ceremonially signed legislation requiring branch agencies to conform to energy conservation and environmental standards in construction of new buildings over 5,000 square feet, and in renovated buildings where the cost of renovation exceeds 50 percent of the value of the building. To view the entire article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, click here.
Secretary Domenech Touts Virginia CZM Program
Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech wrote an op-ed for the Daily Press celebrating the 25th anniversay of the Virginia Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program. The CZM Program is funded through the federal Coastal Zone Management Act and consists of a network of state and local partners who try to find innovative and resourceful ways to preserve Virginia's coastal resources. To view the full text from the opinion editorial, click here.
Virginia Submits Phase II of Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan
Governor Bob McDonnell announced on Friday that the Commonwealth of Virginia had submitted its Phase II Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan to officials at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Phase II submission seeks to build on the Phase I version, which was submitted in 2010, by localizing its actions to clean up pollution in the bay. To learn more, read the full press release from the Governor's website by clicking here.
Summer Heat, Heavy Rains Hurt Chesapeake Bay Grasses
According to the Chesapeake Bay Program, the bay's underwater grasses declined more than 20 percent last year due to excessive heat, heavy rains and snow melt that filtered tons of mud and debris into the bay. The grasses, which have dropped to their lowest levels since 2006, are vital to the bay's ecosystem providing much needed food and shelter for fish, birds and other species. To read the full Associated Press article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, click here.
Virginia's Spring Stewardship Campaign Kicks Off in April
Stewardship Virginia, a statewide campaign to encourage and recognize voluntary activities with tangible impact on Virginia's natural resources, embarks on its 10th year with events across the state starting in April. The stewardship campaign features activities in the spring and fall, with the spring portion running through May 31. Stewardship Virginia promotes waterway adoption, trail improvement, the planting of riparian buffers, invasive species control, habitat improvement and landscaping for conservation. To read the Governor's press release, click here.
State Looking for Citizen Input on Virginia Outdoors Plan
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is holding two public meetings on March 1 to gather input for the 2013 Virginia Outdoors Plan. VDCR is encouraging residents to attend and share their ideas for recreation and land conservation needs. To read the entire article from the Virginia Gazette, click here.
Dinwiddie Couple Place 565 Acres of Forest in Conservation Easements
The Virginia Department of Forestry recently announced that forest consultant Lee Bethea and his wife, June, will protect two parcels of land - known as the San Marino and McCann tracts - totaling 565 acres in Dinwiddie County along the Nottoway River and along Stony Creek though conservation easements. The two new easements are also part of the agency's Tomorrow Woods program. Landowners who participate in the program are reimbursed for up-front costs, such as attorney's fees, appraisal and title insurance. The Tomorrow Woods program has assisted landowners in Southeast Virginia in developing conservation easements that protect more than 2,200 acres of land. To read the entire article from the Progress-Index, click here.
Civil War Trust Raising Funds to Add 77 Acres to Cedar Creek and Belle Grove
The Civil War Trust has instituted a $1.3 million fundraising campaign to preserve 77 acres that would be added to the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. The two target properties, the Vermont Monument site and Rienzi’s Knoll, located on opposite ends of the battlefield, each represent a critical moment in the October 19, 1864, struggle — a Union victory that clinched Abraham Lincoln’s reelection to second term as President. To read the entire article from the National Parks Traveler, click here.
Fairfax County Acquires 7.2-Acre Ruckstuhl Property
The Fairfax County Park Authority recently acquired the 7.2-acre Ruckstuhl property, which is located on Idylwood Road in the Falls Church area, from the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust. The Park Authority and the NVCT joined in a cooperative effort to obtain a grant under the auspices of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to assist in defraying a portion of the cost of the acquisition. The majority of the remainder was donated by NVCT to the County. To read the entire article from the Fairfax News, click here.
Farm Transition Workshop Scheduled for February 11
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Office of Farmland Preservation, in partnership with the Virginia Farm Bureau's Young Farmers Committee is sponsoring the second of three Farm Link and Transition Pilot workshops on February 11 in Chatham. The workshop will be held at the Olde Dominion Agricultural Complex from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more details or to read the entire article from the Chatham Star-Tribune, click here.
223 Acres of Forestry Preserved in Albemarle County
The Virginia Department of Forestry was recently granted a working forest conservation easement for 223 acres in Albemarle County, land which is made up from four parcels owned by Benjamin, Terry and Thomas Warthen. The land sits due west of Monticello and contains a tributary of Biscuit Run. Funding for the easement came from the Forests to Faucets program, which helps protect water quality in the Rivanna River Basin. To view the entire article from the Daily Progress, click here.
Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Discusses Importance of Farmland Preservation
Matt Lohr, Virginia's Secretary of Agriculture, recently discussed the importance of farmland preservation with the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Lohr noted that agriculture is still Virginia's largest industry, with an annual economic impact of $55 billion, but the state is still losing about 100,000 acres of working land each year. To view the video or read the entire article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, click here.
Fauquier Landowners Preserved Twice as Much Land in 2011 Than in 2010
Fauquier County and its landowners put 3,150 acres under conservation easement in 2011, doubling the total from 2010 according to the Warrenton-based Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC). The county, which pays eligible rural landowners $25,000 per potential home site through its purchase of development rights program, bought 43 development rights for $1.1 million permanently protecting 1,082 acres. To read the entire article from the Fauquier Times-Democrat, click here.
Op-Ed: Conservation Helps Wildlife, Preserves Good Life
Jim McVeigh, the Richmond chairman of the board of The Wildlife Foundation of Virginia, recently penned an op-ed regarding the virtues of land conservation and its direct connection on the quality of life for citizens in the commonwealth. Over the past 10 years, Virginia has lost an average of 16,000 acres of forest land annually making it harder for residents to enjoy outdoor recreational activities such as hunting and fishing. With Governor McDonnell pledging to conserve 400,000 acres of land during his term and the legislative session closing in, he hopes they can work together to find the significant funding to reach the goal. To read the entire op-ed from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, click here.
Three Families Place Greene Land in Conservation Easements
Three Greene County families have granted conservation easements to the state, providing protection against large-scale development for nearly 400 acres of mountainside. Virginia Department of Forestry officials said they have recorded easements protecting 395 acres on Snow and Hightop mountains west of Standardsville. To read the entire article from the Daily Progress, click here.
Virginia Land Trust Conserves Property with Fitts Fund
The Land Trust of Virginia (LTV) recorded its 20th easement in Fauquier County with an easement on a 109-acre parcel southeast of The Plains, within the viewshed of Virginia scenic byways Routes 55 and 628 and I-66. The property is located within the Broad Run/Little Georgetown Historic District, and also within two National Park Service Civil War Battlefield Study Areas for the Battles of Thoroughfare Gap and Buckland Mills. To read the entire article from the Civil War News, click here.
Bay Shows Evidence of Bouncing Back
According to a recent report, there's evidence at least some of the Chesapeake Bay is bouncing back after two massive storms this fall. Chesapeake Bay grasses in the upper bay survived "pretty well," according the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. To view the entire article from WTOP's website, click here.
Bay Advocates Decry Virginia Funding Proposal
Advocates who favor restoration of the Chesapeake Bay say Gov. Bob McDonnell's biennial budget proposal is severely lacking in terms of what's needed to fund the state's portion of the Bay's cleanup. Led by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a coalition of clean-water advocates has proposed the state issue a $300 million bond measure to assist localities complete clean-water projects. To read the entire article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, click here.
Report: Chesapeake Bay Cleanup, Job Creation Linked
A recent report by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation reveals that storm water and sewage plant upgrades that are intended to revitalize the environmentally challenged Chesapeake Bay could create nearly 250,000 jobs. The report was issued to refute and counter claims that the multi-state, multi-billion dollar Chesapeake Bay restoration effort lead by the Environmental Protection Agency will be harmful to the econmy and result in job losses. To read the entire Associated Press article from the Northern Virginia Daily, click here.
$1 Million in Grants Aimed at Preserving 530 Acres of Civil War Battlegrounds
State grants totaling $1 million are being awarded to organizations working to preserve 530 acres of Civil War battlefields in Virginia. The grants are being drawn from a fund created by the General Assembly to preserve Civil War sites and will help preservation groups in nine counties preserve 10 places where North and South forces fought. The Department of Historic Resources said it rigorously evaluated each grant request on Congress’ “Report on the Nation’s Civil War Battlefields,” issued in 1993, and a 2009 update on Virginia battlefields. To view the entire list of sites from the Washington Post article, click here.
200 Acres Preserved in Loudoun and Fauquier County
The Land Trust of Virginia recently recorded conservation easements totaling 200 acres in Loudoun and Fauquier counties. The 91-acre Ravitz-Basser property outside of Aldie, known locally as the Moore Farm or Fair Oaks Farm, contains several historic buildings and the Moore Family Cemetery. The Land Trust of Virginia also acquired a 109-acre parcel of land southeast of The Plains in Fauquier County. The property is within Route 55 and 628 and Interstate 66. Almost 99 percent of the property is wooded and is within the Broad Run and Little Georgetown Historic District.To read the article from the Loudoun Times, click here.
JRA Report: Health of James River Deteriorating
The James River Association released its annual "State of the James River" report today and the results were sobering. The overall health of the river has declined over the past two years and it received a C grade, down from a C+ two years ago. The report is issued every other year and takes into account key fish and wildlife species, habitat, pollution and actions to protect the river. To read the article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, click here. To view the full James River Association assessment, click here.
Op-Ed Stresses Importance of Restoration and Protection of State Waters
Joseph Croce recently submitted an op-ed to the Richmond Times-Dispatch on behalf of numerous organizations which urged Governor McDonnell and Virginia legislators to continue their efforts in protecting the Commonwealth's waterways. Virginia has already made significant investments by utlitizing more than $1 billion in the past five years upgrading wastewater treatment plants. Once completed, those upgrades will remove 15.33 million pounds per year of nitrogren and 0.84 million pounds of phosphorus from Virginia's tidal waters and the Chesapeake Bay. To continue the momentum Virginia will need an additional $300 million over the next five years to fund its share of point source projects. To read Mr. Croce's entire op-ed from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, click here.
Land Conservation Remains as Popular as Ever
Despite the lingering effects of a prolonged recession and severe cuts to government funding, voters throughout the United States continue to support public funds for land conservation. Since the start of the recession in 2008, voters have approved 171 public finance measures for parks and green space totaling more than $15 billion. In recent years, private land conservation has also become more prevelant with a total of 10 million acres of land being voluntarily conserved since 2005 as urban parks, family farms, forests and natural areas. To read the entire article from the Urban Land Institute, click here.
Virginia Tops Southeast in Land-Conservation Efforts
The Land Trust Alliance recently issued a report concluding that trusts in Virginia conserved more land between 2005 and 2010 than any other state in the Southeast. Citing data from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the alliance found that 314,225 acres were conserved during that period by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and 78,678 acres were protected by private land trusts. To read the entire article from the Associated Press, click here.
Halifax County Land Donated to the Virginia Department of Forestry
A sizeable swath of woodland in Halifax County has become the 50th conservation easement donated to the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF). Mac and Brenda McDannald granted a working forest easement protecting nearly 1,300 acres located south of Omega. Not only will it be protected from development, but it will be maintained with sustainable forest management practices. To read the entire article from WSLS, click here.
USDA to Survey Conservation Practices in Bay Watershed
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) recently announced it will begin conducting a survey for the 2011 National Resources Inventory (NRI) — Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). The survey will collect information from producers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed about farming and conservation practices on cultivated cropland. CEAP is a multi-agency effort to quantify the environmental effects of conservation practices and programs and develop the science base for managing the agricultural landscape for environmental quality. To read the entire article from the Southeast Farm Press, click here.
Commonwealth Purchases Eastern Shore Land for Preservation
The state recently purchased 88 acres for preservation on the Chesapeake Bay on the southern tip of the Eastern Shore, which is a key gathering point for birds migrating along the Atlantic Coast. The property is approximately three miles north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and will become part of Pickett’s Harbor Natural Area Preserve, an existing sanctuary. To read more from the Virginian-Pilot, click here.
Fort Monroe to be Designated as National Monument
United States Interior Secretary Ken Salazar suggested that President Obama is poised to use his powers under the Antiquities Act to designate parts of Fort Monroe as a national monument. The Army held a deactivation ceremony at Fort Monroe on September 15, 2010, which ended nearly four centuries of military occupation of the site at Old Point Comfort. To read the entire article from the Daily Press, click here.
Virginia Tech and VEC Offer Farm Planning and Transition Resource
Virginia Tech and the Virginia Cooperative Extension have recently made available a workbook that helps farmers plan for the transition of a farm or forest property from one generation to another. Planning for the Future of Your Farm: A Workbook Supporting Farm Transfer Decisions can be downloaded at pubs.ext.vt.edu/446/446-610/446-610.html. To read more from the Rockbridge Weekly, click here.
Elklick Woodlands Preserve Goes Largely Unnoticed
Located in far Western Fairfax County, Elklick Woodlands Preserve in the only preserved northern hardpan basic oak-hickory forest in the world. This unique forest type, which is characterized by shorter trees and lush grassy fields, occurred in only a few spots in Northern Virginia and Maryland but most have disappeared due to urban and suburban growth. Even though it’s not well known, the environmental jewel is something to viewed and treasured. To read the full article from the Centreville Patch, click here.
Bay Bank Working to Protect and Preserve Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem
The Bay Bank has created one of the first comprehensive markets for regional ecosystem services in the country by connecting landowners with financial resources needed to protect natural lands. The program was designed to assist in curbing the deterioration of the Chesapeake Bay. Landowners in the region, which includes New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, can now offer their lands to earn credits or financing for forest and habitat conservation, carbon sequestration, water quality protection and wetlands restoration. To read the full article from Fast Company, click here.
Farm Bureau Urging Farmers to Track Conservation Practices
The Virginia Farm Bureau is imploring farmers in six soil and water conservation districts - Bristol, Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, the Northern Neck, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake - to participate in a pilot program to collect information about best management practices they've implemented. Best management practices are changes farmers and landowners make to their property to reduce or eliminate soil erosion or contamination of water. To read more about the program from Rockbridgeweekly.com, click here.
Feds Announce $10.9 Million in Grants for Chesapeake Bay
Environmental projects across the Chesapeake Bay watershed will receive $10.9 million in federal grants. The funds will support 55 projects to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment runoff. Matching funds to be provided by grant recipients mean a total of $27 million will be going to the projects. To read the full article from the Associated Press, click here.
Film Highlights Trust's Efforts
The Central Virginia Battlefields Trust invites area residents to the public premiere of a short documentary about its work as a grassroots outfit that has saved more than 890 acres on the area's four major Civil War battlefields. To read the entire article from the Free Lance-Star, click here.
Donation of Land Continues Atkins Family's Vision
The estate of the late Paul and Anna Atkins has donated 113 acres to Chesterfield County, most of which will be left natural. Thirty percent of the property will be used for new park facilities. In addition to preserving the land, the Capital Region Land Conservancy and the Chesterfield Department of Parks and Recreation looked to the former owner's will, urging water conservation via avoiding excessive development, so that nearby streams and waterways close to the property would remain in tact. To read the full article from the Chesterfield Observer, click here.
Annual Forestry and Wildlife Field Tour is Oct. 13
In its 35th year, the Fall Forestry and Wildlife Field Tour has become a fall tradition for many of Virginia's outdoor enthusiasts and forest landowners.This year's Central District tour is scheduled for Thursday, October 13 in Pittsylvania County and will emphasize current forestry and wildlife research in the hopes that participants will gain knowledge and resources in attaining their own land management objectives. To read the entire article from the Smith Mountain Eagle, click here.
Featherstone Wildlife Refuge Open to Boaters
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that the Featherstone refuge, which borders Occoquan Bay and Neabsco Creek in Woodbridge, will soon be open to the public via non-motorized boats. Area conservation groups and elected officials have spoken in favor of opening the refuge to the public. To read the full article from the News and Messenger, click here.
Botetourt County Waterway Recognized
The Botetourt County Parks, Recreation & Tourism Department’s Upper James River Water Trail received top honors from the Virginia Recreation and Parks Society winning in two different categories. The area is also recognized for outstanding conservation and economic development. To read the entire article from WDBJ7, click here.
Governor McDonnell Announces Land Conservation Grants
Governor Bob McDonnell recently announced that the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation had awarded 17 grants totaling $2.4 million. The grants will add 2,2234 acres towards the Governor's stated goal of preserving 400,000 acres by 2014. VLCF grants are used by prviate land trusts, local governments, and state agencies to protect and acquire special lands in the following categories: open spaces and parks, historic areas, farm and forestry, and natural areas. To read the Governor's press release, click here.
Manure-Based Plant May Materialize in Valley
In August, the United States Department of Agriculture announced that the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation had been awarded an $848,000 Conservation Innovation Grant to implement manure-to-energy projects in four "phosphorus hot spots" within the Bay watershed. The Valley was named as one of the hot spots in the Grant proposal and $600,000 of the Grant will go to implementing four on-the-ground projects. Agriculture accounts for 40 percent of the phosphorus and nitrogen pollution in the Bay and with many farms in the Valley having had manure applied to its land over the years, the phosphorus has built up in the soil. To read more about the Grant and potential manure plant from the Staunton Daily News Leader, click here.
State Unveils Biscuit Run Park Plans
The Commonwealth of Virginia recently unveiled a draft of the master plan for the future of Biscuit Run Park in Albemarle County. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation held a public meeting at the Ablemarle County Office Building on September 19 to present its vision for the 1,200-acre site along Route 20. An advisory committee had been working to develop the master plan. To read more about the master plan on the Charlottesville Tomorrow blog, click here.
Stewardship Virginia Campaign Kicks Off Ninth Year in September
Stewardship Virginia, a statewide campaign to encourage and recognize volunteers providing a tangible impact on Virginia's natural resources, continues its ninth year this month with events across the Commonwealth. The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) coordinates the campaign with assistance from other state natural and historical resources agencies. To read more about Stewardship Virginia from DCR's website, click here.
News & Advance Columnist Touts Conservation Easements
Thelma Dalmas, a resident of Lynchburg for more than 50 years, penned a column in the August 30 edition of the News & Advance highlighting the benefits of preserving land for the future through conservation easements. By putting your land under a conservation easement, you still retain ownership, gain tax benefits and have the right to pass along the property to your heirs all while knowing the habitat will remain more or less unchanged. To read the entire article from the News & Advance, click here.
Virginia Gets $1.8 Million in Federal Grants
The Commonwealth of Virginia is receiving $1.8 million in federal grants for a vareity of environmental projects. The largest sum will be used for manure-to-energy projects in four "phosphorus hot spots." Other projects include on-farm demonstrations for phosphorus recycling and tree planting on reclaimed mining sites. To read the entire article from the Staunton Daily News Leader, click here.
USDA Taps Virginia for Conservation Innovation Grant
Virginia was one of 40 states to receive Conservation Innovation Grants from the USDA. Virginia, along with Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, is receiving $848,424 to help farmers convert manure to energy to generate income and improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. To read the entire article, click here.
Virginia Department of Agriculture Announces Farm Workshops
The Associated Press recently published an article on the efforts of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Office of Farmland Preservation to keep farms in farming. The office will be conducting several workshops throughout Virginia to be held through next spring. To read the entire article, click here.
Ann Jennings' Op-Ed Featured in Richmond Times-Dispatch
Ann Jennings, a Virginiaforever Board Member and Virginia Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, penned an op-ed on the current Bay cleanup effort and the need to sustain its funding for long-term success. To read the entire piece, which ran in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on July 22, click here.
McDonnell's Land Conservation Goal Behind Schedule
Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech announced yesterday that Governor McDonnell's plan to protect 400,000 acres of land during his administration is currently behind schedule. Domenech cited the bad economy as a reason people are reluctant to voluntarily protect land and also stated the Governor is "significantly" cutting back on state spending to buy land because localities lose valuable tax money when the state purchases land. More than 60,000 acres have been protected since McDonnell took office. To read the article, click here.
USDA Announces Conservation Funding in Virginia
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced yesterday that Virginia farmers, ranchers and private, non-inudstrial forest landowners can now tap into federal funds to implement conservation practices. The Agriculture Department will use $7 million to fund 31 projects in Virginia and 10 other states. The funding is available through the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative. To read the article, click here.
Virginiaforever Annual Board Meeting and Budget Briefing
Virginiaforever held its annual board meeting and budget briefing on Monday, December 20th in Richmond, Virginia. The Board of Directors and attending public heard presentations of Governor McDonnell’s proposed amendments to the 2010-2012 biennial budget from the agencies and departments responsible for the oversight of natural resources and agriculture in the Commonwealth of Virginia. To read the summary, click here.
Eight Virginia Localities Receive Funding for Conservation Easements
Governor Bob McDonnell announced the distribution of $100,000 in grants from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) to eight Virginia localities. The localities -- the counties of Albemarle, Clarke, Fauquier, Isle of Wight, New Kent, Northampton, Spotsylvania and the City of Virginia Beach -- must use the grant monies to preserve farmland within their boundries through local purchase development rights (PDR) programs. To read the governor's press release, click here.
Virginia's Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan Accepted by EPA
Governor Bob McDonnell announced that he had received word from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it had approved Virginia's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan, which had been submitted by the Administration in November. Virginia is one of seven Bay jurisdictions to develop plans addressing the EPA's establishment of a total maximum daily load (TMDL) or "pollution diet" for the Chesapeake Bay. To read the governor's press release, click here.
Virginia Outdoors Foundation Moves to New Offices
The Virginia Outdoor Foundation has moved its state headquarters to a new building in Warrenton. The new offices are located Garrett Street and the space is double the size -- about 3,000 square feet compared to the 1,400 square-foot office space at the former location on Waterloo Street. The new space also allows the Foundation to double its office count from five to 11 and provides substantially more parking. Established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1966, VOF holds conservation easements and has the authority to buy and sell land for conservation purposes.
Smithfield Foods Acheives Top Corporate Social Responsibility Rankings
Virginia Forever member Smithfield Foods was recently recognized by multiple organizations for their Corporate Social Responsibility efforts. The company ranked 176th on the Maplecroft CII Benchmark which evaluates company performance in climate-related innovation and carbon management. Smithfield was also recognized by FTSE Group as a member of the FTSE4Good index, and in NEWSWEEK's 2010 Green Rankings. To read the entire Smithfield Foods press release, click here.
Farmers in Chesapeake Bay Watershed Recieve $150 Million in Federal Funds
Federal environmental and agriculture officials have committed $150 million to help farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed do their part to restore the estuary. The funds will be used to help livestock growers and farmers cover crops to reduce runoff, build livestock fencing, assist with wetlands protection and provide technical assistance. To read the entire article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, click here.
More Va. Waterways Polluted According to DEQ Report
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) yesterday issued its 2010 water-quality report and the findings were concerning to environmentalists. There is more pollution in Virginia waterways than ever before, even though more of them than ever are being cleaned. According to the report 12,103 miles of streams are polluted, 96,510 acres of lakes are dirty and 2,157 square miles of estuaries are also polluted. To read the entire article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, click here.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Awarded $500K Grant
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has bestowed a $500,000 grant upon the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for pollution reduction and watershed restoration in the Onancock watershed on the Eastern Shore. The grant will fund projects including resident rain gardens, rail barrels, lawn management, stream buffers, variable-rate fertilzer applications and the installation of systems to capture rainwater runoff from municipal parking lots. To read the entire article from the Virginian Pilot, click here.
McDonnell Plan Aims to Curb Runoff from Capitol Square
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell yesterday broke ground on a project to reduce runoff from Capitol Square. With the help of an Environmental Protection Agency grant, the goal is to make the Commonwealth's Capitol the nation's greenest. To read the entire article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, click here.
Smithfield Foods Releases Annual Corporate Social Responsibility Report
Virginia Forever member Smithfield Foods has released its ninth annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report, which highlights the company's progress in environmental performance, animal welfare, food safety, community relations, and employees -- key CSR areas for the company and its stockholders. To review Smithfield's press release or to download a PDF of the CSR Report, click here.
Virginia Forever Chairman Bob Dunn Appointed to State Water Control Board
Virginia Forever Chairman Bob Dunn was recently appointed by Governor Bob McDonnell to the State Water Control Board. Dunn, a former Community and Environmental Affairs manager for DuPont, is joined on the Board by Williamsburg's Bill Pruitt. To view the governor's press release announcing the appointments, click here.
Dominion Named ‘Hero of the Chesapeake Bay’
The Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Foundation has named Dominion “Hero of the Chesapeake Bay” for its continuing support of environmental programs in the bay. The award particularly noted the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative, which the foundation termed “a 21st century project whose contributions to the proliferation of fisheries and other marine life in the Chesapeake Bay are unrivaled.” To read more about the award on Dominion’s website, click here.
New State Parks Website Launched
Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech recently announced a new Virginia parks and outdoor recreation website – www.Virginiaoutdoors.com. The site offers resources to make outdoor recreation trip planning fun and easy by utilizing rich content provided by state partners. Content includes a video tour of trails in all Virginia State Parks and audio podcasts with park staff and others who provide an insider’s view on what our parks and open spaces have to offer. To read more about the website, you can view the Governor’s press release here.
Governor McDonnell Reiterates Plans to Preserve 400,000 Acres
Governor Bob McDonnell recently reiterated his Virginia Land Conservation goal of preserving 400,000 acres of open land during his four-year term at the Fourth Annual Virginia Land Conservation Conference in Williamsburg. McDonnell is hoping to match the goal set by former Gov. Tim Kaine. To read more on this from the Daily Press, click here.
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