VCC Celebrates 50th Conservation Easement
This October, Valley Conservation Council (VCC) celebrated the completion of its 50th conservation easement, a significant milestone in the organization’s history. Over the course of the past year, VCC has worked with landowners to protect six new properties in four counties to ensure the permanent preservation of over 1,100 acres. Combined with the donation of a 386-acre farm in Highland County to VCC, this accomplishment more than doubles the acreage protected by the organization’s conservation portfolio.
While Valley Conservation Council’s recent easements have unique geography, topography, and land use, all contain provisions to protect water quality, provide scenic enjoyment to the public, and preserve the rural landscape cherished by residents and visitors alike.
A Rockbridge County easement helps sustain a working farm in the shadow of House Mountain.
- An easement on a Century dairy along the North River ensures that the farming legacy can be passed down to future generations along with water quality protection.
- An easement at a farming and outdoor recreation lodge in Bath County helps to sustain aquatic life in the Cowpasture River.
- Another Bath County farm easement adds stream buffers to protect the water that later flows into the James River.
- A Shenandoah County property along the North Fork of the Shenandoah now has an easement that protects valuable wildlife habitat.
- A new Augusta County easement adds a wide riparian buffer along half a mile of the South River downstream from Waynesboro.
The staff, board, and volunteers of VCC share a sense of excitement over the accomplishments of the last year but are confident that the best is yet to come. Plans for 2019 include the continued expansion of VCC’s conservation easement program throughout its 11-county service area, outreach and assistance to farmers wishing to implement best management practices, and hands-on educational programming to foster a conservation ethic in tomorrow’s leaders.
Valley Conservation Council is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to protect the farms, forests, open spaces, and cultural heritage of the greater Shenandoah Valley region. VCC works directly with landowners seeking to protect their land through conservation easements, supporting the valley’s natural resources, rural landscape, and agricultural economy, and aims to educate community members of all ages about the steps they can take to protect our natural and cultural resources.