Of the many successes we celebrated in 2012, these 10 stand out as examples of our broad reaching, collaborative, and science based approach to conservation.
10. Charlottesville Water Supply Plan Approved
After nearly a decade of work, Charlottesville and Albemarle County approved its new water supply plan which restores more natural stream flows to the Moormans River and demonstrates how other Virginia communities can balance growth and environmental protection.
9. Advocacy for the Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund
The “Trust Fund” is a state-wide mitigation program run by the Conservancy, Army Corps of Engineers, and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. It provides a vehicle for the Conservancy and partners to restore streams and wetlands to natural conditions as a requirement of permits that affect them. The Conservancy assembled a broad coalition of supporters of the program to fend off legislation in the General Assembly sought by opponents that would have weakened the program’s effectiveness.
8. George Washington Forest Plan
After some five years of work, The Conservancy successfully advocated for the George Washington National Forest to include land designations that are compatible with our ecological goals on more than 400,000 acres of Forest Service land through their ten year forest management plan.
7. Fire Program
We conducted controlled burns on more than 6,800 total acres. The “Big Wilson Fire” on our Warm Springs Mountain preserve and adjacent U.S. Forest Service land was one of the largest and most complex burns ever conducted by TNC.
6. Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Restoration
In 2012 we reached our long-term goal of restoring ten red-cockaded woodpecker breeding groups – 65 birds – culminating 12 years of restoration work. These are the highest numbers since mid-1970s and demonstrated that our initial purchase of 1,500 acres in 1998, and later expansions to more than 9,00 acres, has paid off when others doubted the feasibility.
5. Land Sales or Transfers
We transferred to private landowners, the state, or federal government nearly 1,000 acres of protected lands and recouped $2.15 million which will be used to advance more land conservation across the state.
4. Acres protected
TNC and partners protected more than 6,000 acres in 2012. Of note, we helped Virginia protect one of the largest blocks of globally-rare longleaf pine forest with their purchase of the 2,855-acre South Quay tract just before we rang in 2013. TNC secured $1M of US Forest Service Forest Legacy Program funding to support the $2M acquisition by the state. The tract, situated in the historic “South Quay” area near the NC/VA state line along the Blackwater River, connects over 20,000 acres of land and 20 miles of river frontage extending into North Carolina.
3, Carbon credit sales
We closed or are near to closing deals with buyers interested in acquiring carbon credits to offset their carbon footprint. The credits are generated by our improved forest management project in the Clinch Valley where the forests protect nearby globally rare freshwater fish and mussels. This project demonstrates how we can capture nature’s values to support conservation.
After years of effort by the Conservancy and many other partners, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which governs commercial fisheries, approved a 20% reduction in the total harvest of menhaden, a species critical to the health of the Chesapeake Bay and the mid-Atlantic ocean.
1. Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean
We helped partners obtain a $1.35 million grant to create a web-based tool that allows users to track and evaluate ocean uses and make future decisions based on offshore activities. This so-called “portal” galvanized unprecedented coordination among diverse industry sectors and regulators and has created the political will to coordinate among those users. It has also helped those groups see their stake in the ocean and consider how they are affected by others and vice versa. Our stake in coastal and marine areas is big, therefore we need to be involved.