Virginia announces $4.8 million in land conservation grant awards
Virginia Land Conservation Foundation grants will help protect more than 6,100 acres.
RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation today announced $4.8 million in grant awards from the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation that will help conserve more than 6,100 acres throughout the commonwealth.
Twenty-two projects will receive funding, and they range from conservation easements on multigenerational working family farms to the acquisition and permanent protection of cave and karst resources in Southwest Virginia to urban parkland in Richmond. Several projects will expand access to public outdoor recreation.
“The Virginia Land Conservation Foundation grants program uses our groundbreaking ConserveVirginia smart map to help ensure we spend our limited resources wisely on lands with the greatest conservation value,” Governor Ralph Northam said. “I am excited to see the variety of projects that will be made possible through this round of grants as we work to preserve these spaces for future generations.”
The VLCF grant-making process incorporates ConserveVirginia, the commonwealth’s innovative land conservation strategy, which is based on “smart map” technology and draws from 21 different mapped inputs.
“Today’s announcement shows once again why the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation is Virginia’s most important land conservation program,” Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler said. “This geographically diverse array of funded projects meets high standards for protection of water quality and other natural resources and enhances equity by providing new public access to Virginia’s great outdoors.”
The 19-member VLCF board votes to approve the grants. Board members are appointed by the governor, the Senate Committee on Rules and the Speaker of the House of Delegates. The board includes the Secretary of Natural Resources, who serves as chair, and the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation provides administrative support to the VLCF through the state Office of Land Conservation.
“The Department of Conservation and Recreation looks forward to working with each of the grant recipients and to seeing the exciting results of these projects,” DCR Director Clyde Cristman said.
The board approved this round of awards at its June 10 meeting.
This is the second round of awards approved by the VLCF board in 2021. A list of first-round awards — approved on Feb. 5 — is posted on the DCR website.