Stories in Virginia

Taking action for Virginia

Advancing policies to benefit people and nature.

The Potomac River runs through Virginia's Fraser Preserve. The tree lined banks are reflected in the mirror-like surface of the water as the horizon glows in the light of the rising sun.
Sunrise on the River The Potomac River at Fraser Preserve, Fairfax County, VA. © Thomas Hamilton

At Virginia’s Capitol, The Nature Conservancy is pursuing ambitious but practical proposals that promote efficient solutions to resource management problems. We are leveraging the power and value of nature. And we respect human needs, emphasizing cooperation across agency, political and organizational boundaries to support our work on the ground.

Two days-old red-cockaded woodpecker chicks rest in the cupped hands of a person standing in Virginia's Piney Grove Preserve.
Protecting Habitat A pair of red-cockaded woodpeckers during annual chick banding at Piney Grove Preserve. © Robert B Clontz / TNC

Virginia's Lands

Virginia’s natural and working lands are a treasured and valuable resource. They support job-creating industries and recreation; generate food, timber and other commodities; protect clean water; mitigate climate change; and provide habitat for diverse plants and wildlife.

But increasing development pressures and climate change threaten these lands.

We’re collaborating with communities, landowners and state agencies to strategically protect and conserve valuable lands and utilize best management practices to improve carbon storage, soil health, wildlife habitat, forestlands, agricultural lands and wetlands for the benefit of people and nature.

A weathered wooden gate is overgrown by a tall, flowering bush. The mowed pastured behind the gate stretches to a line of tall trees. A mountain ridge rises along the horizon.
Summer meadow Appalachian farm pasture. © Kent Mason

Many of Virginia’s conservation finance programs were established with TNC’s leadership. We pushed legislation to establish the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation (VLCF) and Land Preservation Tax Credit. We have supported successful legislation establishing minimum funding for VLCF and allowing the state’s Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund to be used for land conservation projects. We support

  • Strong, sustained levels of conservation funding for the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation and the Land Preservation Tax Credit
  • Increased funding for state agencies so that they can better and more efficiently protect and manage Virginia’s lands
  • Protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat connectivity across the commonwealth, with mitigation for impacts of large infrastructure projects
Aerial view looking down on a floating barge in the Piankatank River. A large crane is being used to scoop up chunks of granite rock from a pile on the barge and place them on a new oyster reef.
Building a Reef Granite rock is methodically placed in Virginia's Piankatank River to form the newest, 25-acre oyster reef in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. © Patrick Bloodgood/U.S. Army photo

Virginia's Waters

Water enriches habitats, grows our food and drives our economy. Restoring natural filters such as forests and oyster reefs helps clean our water and provide for more sustainable forests and fisheries.

We work with industry, farmers, watermen and local governments across the commonwealth to ensure an adequate water supply, improve our water quality, increase sustainable management of fisheries and build strong, resilient communities.

TNC was instrumental in establishing VirginiaForever, a unique, diverse coalition of businesses, environmental organizations and outdoor enthusiasts that advocates for increased government funding for water quality improvements and land conservation across the commonwealth. We support 

  • Accelerating the pace and scale of oyster restoration
  • Equipping farmers with practical ways to protect our waters by funding agricultural best management practices
  • Scientific management of menhaden and complying with Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission decisions
A valley dotted with small houses is nestled between two mountain ridges. The rising sun is just breaking over the top of the ridge in the background.
Humpback Rocks Views from this rocky outcrop look west onto the Shenandoah Valley and north to Shenandoah National Park. © Daniel White

Energy and Climate

Climate change is one of the world’s most urgent challenges and an immediate risk to our communities, our economies and our conservation mission. We are addressing this challenge with innovative scientific models, pilot projects and financing mechanisms, as well as by working with policymakers and business leaders to scale up these solutions.

To reduce the impacts of a warming climate, we’re acting to increase the use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, while also reducing energy-siting impacts to our lands and waters. We support

  • Scientific siting models for solar and off-shore wind projects that minimize the impact on local communities, wildlife, and lands and waters
  • Advancing clean energy legislation that supports the development and deployment of clean energy technologies, including energy efficiency, electric vehicles and a modern electric grid

In addition to mitigating climate change, it is important that we help communities adapt to changes that science shows are already occurring, such as sea level rise and more frequent flooding. In coastal Virginia, we are applying natural solutions to address the challenges of climate change. Healthy natural systems—like salt marshes, oyster reefs, seagrass meadows, forests and wetlands—have a better chance of adapting to a changing world. We support

  • Designing infrastructure and future developments to take climate change and extreme weather into account so that public investments are used wisely
  • Reforms to infrastructure permitting processes to ensure the full range of environmental, economic and social benefits that nature-based infrastructure can provide