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Land Conservation Project

Applications for the 2021 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards will be available soon. To be notified when applications are available, sign up for the VEEP newsletter.

2020 Land Conservation Application – Please contact Meghann Quinn for any accessibility issues with this document.

This category is intended to recognize exemplary land conservation work that was completed in the past 12 months in the Commonwealth.


  • Land conservation easement, fee simple or land conservation planning project entries in the land conservation category may be submitted by (a) private land conservation and land trust organizations operating in the Commonwealth; (b) business and industry with operating facilities located in Virginia; (c) government entities that own or manage land in Virginia; or (d) individuals or organizations, for projects completed in Virginia.
  • Conservation easements on the protected property must have been recorded prior to submission of the award application.
  • The land must be permanently protected by either a conservation easement or a donation of the land to a conservation organization.
  • A project that has won a previous award for land conservation is not eligible for an award unless the applicant clearly demonstrates substantial changes between the current application and the past winning application.

Judging Criteria for Land Conservation Project Category:

Applicants should address each of the following criteria:

Public Involvement, Partnerships and Outreach [10 points maximum]

  • What methods are used to solicit public involvement?
  • Who are significant partners and how are they involved?
  • What kind of public information and outreach activities are undertaken?

 Combination with Public Land Use Goals [15 points maximum]

  • How do land conservation activities support watershed management protection?
  • How do land conservation activities support the protection of wetlands and other sensitive lands?
  • How are land conservation activities integrated with goals for outdoor recreation, growth management and economic development?

 Community Support and Awareness [10 points maximum]

  • How does the program generate community support and awareness for land conservation?

 Water Quality Protection [10 points maximum]

  • Are best management practices for water quality being implemented on the preserved property?
  • Are lands adjacent to streams and water bodies protected with riparian buffer requirements and being managed as wooded buffers?
  • Are wetland areas identified and protected?
  • How are water quality criteria evaluation/considered in your land conservation plan?

 Protection of Rare, Threatened, or Endangered Species or Exemplary Natural Communities [10 points maximum]

  • Are there rare, threatened, or endangered species or exemplary natural communities on the property?
  • If there are rare, threatened, or endangered species on the property, how are they protected and managed?
  • Describe the requirements to protect wildlife habitat contained in the deed.
  • How are biodiversity criteria evaluated/considered in your land conservation plan?

 Protection of Working Land [10 points maximum]

  • Is the land currently in farm or forest use?
  • How does the donation of the conservation easement or land ensure that the land can continue in farm or forest use?
  • Is there a farm conservation plan or forest stewardship plan for the property?
  • Are waterways on the property protected by vegetated buffers?
  • How are working lands evaluated/considered in your land conservation plan?

Protection of Historic Resources [10 points maximum]

  • Are there historic resources on the property?
  • If so, how are those resources protected?
  • Describe the requirements to protect historic resources contained in the deed.
  • How are historic resources evaluated/considered in your land conservation plan?

 Land Management [15 points maximum]

  • Is there a comprehensive land conservation program throughout the applicants' holdings?
  • Will the property that is the focus of the application be actively managed? If so, is there a written management plan?
  • Describe the land management expertise and experience of the entity responsible for the land management.
  • Is training in land management provided to employees and contractors?
  • How is climate change resilience factored into your project or plan?

 Public Access [10 points maximum]

  • What kind of public access is available?
  • Are there educational programs or interpretive signage on the property?
  • How are public access and outdoor recreation needs evaluated/considered in your land conservation plan?

Contact Meghann Quinn with questions. 

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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