Conservation Corridors Planning Project
Northern Virginia is rich in sensitive ecological areas, important drinking water sources, unique wildlife habitat, globally-rare forest communities, and nature-based recreational opportunities.
Through the Conservation Corridors Planning Project
, NVRC and its local partners provide information and guidance on what natural assets exist in the region and how they relate and connect to important human interests.
The Conservation Corridors in Northern Virginia Assessment Report
(January 2012, 4MBs) provides and overview of the ecological, recreational, economic and regulatory benefits the region's green infrastructure
provides. Additionally, it includes maps of the region's assets, applications for this information, additional planning opportunities, and recommendations on how interested parties can conserve, maintain, and restore the region's priority corridors.
A Conservation Corridors Workgroup, led by NVRC, is a diverse advisory group which includes local governments as well as conservation organizations including the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust
. The workgroup provides essential review and support to the project.
Conservation Corridors Planning Project Goals
Why is NVRC’s Role in this Project Important?
- Identify and map high-value ecological cores (areas of significance) and corridors (links or pathways) across the region
- Establish baseline data on these important environmental assets
- Raise awareness of these assets so that future decision-makers may allow for growth in a way that supports economic, regulatory and ecological goals
- Refine state analysis of the green infrastructure using local data and priorities
- Highlight opportunities for regional connections
- Quantify the benefits of these areas
- Develop model language for incorporation of green infrastructure/conservation corridors into local comprehensive planning efforts
- Natural environments cross regional boundaries
- NVRC provides a regional perspective to connections that go beyond local areas
What is Green Infrastructure?
- A base map, now in its final draft stage, will show areas of ecological significance remaining in Northern Virginia—not a roadmap for conservation, but rather a snapshot of what currently exists
- Thematic maps will outline areas of nature-based recreation, cultural heritage, water quality and agriculture
- Existing GIS-based software programs will be utilized to better understand the benefits of these cores for pollutant removal and carbon sequestration
- The project will result in tools—specialized maps and model language—that local governments can use in their planning process
The Conservation Fund defines green infrastructure as strategically planned and managed networks of natural lands, working landscapes, and other open spaces that conserve ecosystem values and functions and provide associated benefits to human populations. Green infrastructures include significant or core habitats as well as corridors between those habitats.
What is a Conservation Corridor?
A conservation corridor is a natural link between these significant or core areas that allows for the movement of birds, animals, and humans.
Corey Miles, Senior Environmental Planner, NVRC
This project is funded in part by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program at the Department of Environmental Quality through Grant #NA09NOS4190163 and NA10NOS4190205, Task 97.02 of the U.S. Department of Commerce; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended. Additional assistance for the production of the assessment report was provided by the Virginia Department of Forestry through Grant #11FCG06, sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service.