The Central Appalachian Mountains, which includes West Virginia, is one of the most biologically rich landscapes in the continental United States. Many species here exist nowhere else on Earth, flourishing due to the region’s variation in topography, elevation, geology, climate and drainage patterns.
Home to one of the world’s richest temperate broadleaf deciduous forest, West Virginia also boasts habitats like dry shale barrens and cedar glades, fire-maintained pine barrens, high-elevation heathlands and grass balds, peatlands and other wetlands, natural ponds, spruce forests and caves.
The Nature Conservancy’s strategies to conserving West Virginia’s natural treasures are collaborative, science-based and holistic. This approach enables us to preserve healthy ecosystems capable of supporting people and nature for generations to come.
The Conservancy is actively engaged in:
- advancing conservation of significant private lands within priority landscapes
- supporting legislative efforts to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund
- developing the implementation program for the Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund, which the Conservancy was the driver in creating
- securing existing state and federal dollars for critical land acquisitions
- using non-traditional tools for land conservation, including mitigation
- advancing large-scale restoration of red spruce forests, expansion of natural fire regimes, and control of invasive plants and pathogens in collaboration with partners—especially the National Forest Service
- securing federal funding for fighting invasive species and for implementing regulatory changes that could slow their introductions to North America
- increasing public awareness of forest health issues
- funding and developing threat assessments, including predictive mapping of habitat impacts from wind energy, natural gas and coal
- advising decisions makers, with an emphasis on national forest managers to inform energy development decisions on public lands
- working with industry to develop practices that can reduce impacts from energy development
- assessing landscapes of the Central Appalachians to determine which may be the most resilient to large-scale changes such as climate change
- identifying key connections important as potential pathways for species in a changing world
- developing and sharing information on climate change impacts
- engaging governments, businesses and communities to support action on climate change
- actively supporting efforts of the Ohio River Basin Fish Habitat Partnership to protect, restore and enhance priority habitat for fish and mussels in the Ohio River.
- assisting in the development of information and tools for assessing environmental stream flow needs in the Potomac River basin