Conservation Corridors Project

2012 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 developed 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.

This project was coordinated through the Conservation Corridors Workgroup, including NVRC and local governments as well as conservation organizations including the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust

Conservation Corridors Planning Project Goals 

  • 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

Project Products 

  • Maps shows areas of ecological significance remaining in Northern Virginia—not a roadmap for conservation, but rather a snapshot of what currently exists
  • Maps outline areas of nature-based recreation, cultural heritage, water quality and agriculture
  • Existing GIS-based software programs were utilized to better understand the benefits of these cores for pollutant removal and carbon sequestration
  • The project resulted in tools—specialized maps and model language—that local governments can use in their planning process

Frequently Asked Questions?

What is Green Infrastructure in Conversation?
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. 

Project Contact
Rebecca Murphy, Coastal Program Manager, NVRC


Project Partners

Green Infrastructure Center, Inc. Green Infrastructure Logo
Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program Virginia Coastal Zone Logo
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  NOAA Logo

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.