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Land Conservation Project

Applications for the 2021 Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards are now being accepted. The application period will end at 5 p.m. on December 9, 2020.

2021 Land Conservation Application

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

Eligibility

ConserveVirginia is the Commonwealth’s data driven land conservation strategy. The strategy prioritizes the most important lands from a statewide perspective, targets limited resources toward those areas, and measures the progress made toward achieving multiple conservation goals. Using 21 mapped data inputs in seven categories, ConserveVirginia identifies approximately 6.9 million acres of priority lands for conservation. To be eligible for this award, a land conservation project or program must support ConserveVirginia.

Judging Criteria

Applicants should address each of the following criteria:

Describe how the application supports ConserveVirginia? [35 points maximum]: 

  • Demonstrate how the property is located within given ConserveVirginia categories and that the project also protects those respective resources in perpetuity, or how your program is designed to conserve these resources.  
    ConserveVirginia Categories: 
    • Agriculture and Forestry = 5 points
    • Cultural & Historic Preservation = 5 points
    • Floodplains and Flooding Resilience = 5 points
    • Natural Habitat & Ecosystem Diversity = 5 points
    • Protected Landscapes Resilience = 5 points
    • Scenic Preservation  = 5 points
    • Water Quality Improvement = 5 points

Describe how the project will benefit underserved communities [10 points maximum]: 

  • The Social Vulnerability Index created by the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences may be used to identify underserved areas of the state. Data from other sources will also be considered for this criterion if applicant provides the source reference.  
    • Very high social vulnerability = 10
    • High social vulnerability = 8
    • Moderate Social Vulnerability = 5
    • Low or Very Low Social Vulnerability = 0

Describe the water quality protection aspects of your project [15 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? 

Describe how your project protects 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?

Describe how your project protects working farms and forest lands [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?

Describe how your project protects 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?

Describe the public access aspects of your project [10 points maximum]:  

  • Full Public Access (365 days/year) = 10 points
  • Restricted Public Access (180-364 days/year) = 5 points
  • Limited Public Access (less than 180 days per year) = 3 points
  • Visual Access = 2 points

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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