Land Conservation in Northern Virginia – Federal, state and local decision makers discuss the challenges and opportunities

Monday, May 17, 7:00 pm at McCoart, Board Chambers

Speakers – PWC Supervisor Mike May, Congressman Gerry Connolly, VA Land Conservation Foundation Director Robert Davenport, VA Land Conservation Coordinator Sara Richardson and VA Outdoor Foundation Executive Director Bob Lee

Presentations will be followed by a community discussion. Bring your questions and ideas!

This forum is a unique opportunity for everyone to learn about both the ecological and financial benefits of land conservation for private landowners and taxpayers.

Land conservation safeguards our environmental resources and natural landscapes… and enhances the quality of life for all residents. Everyone benefits.

Prince William Supervisors recognized these values when they voted to establish high standards for open space preservation in 2008. And the current update of the Environment Chapter offers opportunities to build a foundation for activities that result in real gains to the County’s network of protected open space.

That’s the part we’ve been missing in Prince William County – bipartisan support for activities that add to the County’s network of protected open space. Without on-the-ground efforts to conserve natural resources, words alone do little to protect our forests, wetlands, wildlife and wildflowers.

During the past four years, Virginia conserved 400,000 acres of land. To the best of our knowledge, only 302 of these acres were in Prince William County, contributed by the conservation of Merrimac Farm, which protects our public drinking water supply and provides local residents with a high quality site for hunting, fishing and wildlife watching.

Governor McDonnell has made the conservation of an additional 400,000 acres a priority of his administration. We believe that support for the Governors initiative will benefit all Prince William communities, including Republicans, Democrats and Independents.

We are fortunate to have a bipartisan panel that includes local, state and federal officials as well as our local representative to Virginia’s Land Conservation Foundation, the state land conservation coordinator and the Executive Director of the Virginia Outdoor Foundation, the largest holder of private conservation easements statewide.

This is a unique opportunity to learn how Prince William can begin to take advantage of conservation incentives to protect our rapidly vanishing natural areas. I hope you can make time in you busy schedule to join us Monday evening.

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