The Virginia Land Conservation Foundation (VCLF) is awarding a record $14.9 million in grants to help protect 13,955 acres in 40 projects across Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).
“The board of the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation is excited to make the most of this record funding and focus on significant land conservation efforts that will protect our natural resources,” acting secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis Voyles said. “Through these new local parks and recreation areas, Virginians will have more opportunities for outdoor recreation such as public access to waterways, fishing – and even elk viewing or hunting.”
Voyles chairs the VLCF, which approved the grants in a Monday meeting.
For the first time, the grants include two Indian tribes after new legislation made government-recognized Indian tribes eligible to apply. The Rappahanock Tribe of Virginia will receive $500,000 to protect 703.09 acres of forest alongside the tribe’s riverfront land. The Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe will receive $310,000 for 866 acres alongside the Mattaponi River, where the tribe plans to develop a fish hatchery and public recreation.
The largest grant is $1.5 million to the Richmond-area Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) to allow the organization to buy Mayo Island, a 14-acre property in the middle of the James River near the heart of the City of Richmond. The city desires to turn the land into a park as part of the extensive network of parks along the river, according to recommendations from a taskforce.
In the release, DCR Director Matthew Wells said his agency “looks forward to working with the local governments, state agencies, private land trusts and Virginian Indian tribes on these important efforts to protect the natural environment. Along with improving our water quality, biodiversity and protecting scenic viewsheds, the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation program helps to enhance outdoor experiences for all Virginians.”
– – –
Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Virginia Trails” by Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.