The Great Valley of Virginia represents a natural world that is recognized far and wide for its spectacular open spaces, verdant fields, abundant water, productive soils, exemplary biodiversity, and unique geology.
Virginia’s forests are part of our “common wealth,” providing both ecological and economic benefits. The Virginia Department of Forestry estimates that our forests supply over $900 million of air pollution abatement each year. According to a 1997-1998 survey conducted by the Virginia Tourism Corporation, forest-related recreational opportunities such as backpacking, hiking, camping, and forest viewing generated $1.34 billion by visitors. Since 2001, however, the State has lost nearly 484,000 acres to land use changes with 64% of this acreage cleared for urban development.
The Shenandoah River was named one of America’s most endangered rivers in 2006 by American Rivers. The Valley region is the worst in the Commonwealth for having little or no riparian buffers along most of its streams. Many of the principal streams in VCC’s 11-county service area are ranked “high priority” for nonpoint source pollution. About 39% of Virginia’s impaired stream miles are located in VCC’s territory – Augusta County alone, where VCC is headquartered, has 16% of the state’s impaired stream miles!
Virginia ranks 8th in the United States for globally rare animals and 14th for globally rare plants with a large proportion of these organisms in the greater Shenandoah Valley region. Some of these organisms, such as Virginia Sneezeweed and the Cow Knob Salamander, are now threatened by proposed gas pipeline development and other types of impactful changes in the region.
With a sense of urgency, VCC works with its many partners, including landowners and the public at-large, to be responsible stewards of the Valley’s rich natural resources so that future generations may enjoy these treasures as much or more than we can.
Conservation begins with people – with all of us.
To help protect the natural beauty, scenic landscapes, and rich biodiversity of the greater Shenandoah Valley region, become a VCC member.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. – Attributed to Margaret Meade