In part one of a two part series on American Rivers The River Blog, Potomac Conservancy guest blogs about our Shenandoah Valley Priority Lands Project. The project helps advance land conservation in the headwaters regions of the Potomac in Shenandoah and Frederick Counties, Virginia.
Over the last two years, Potomac Conservancy has worked closely with landowners and closed five voluntary conservation easements – permanently protecting more than 1,000 acres of land against threats from development and deforestation.
Through a Potomac Highlands Implementation Grant, American Rivers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided resources that proved critical to the program’s success. A two-year, $150,000 grant awarded to Potomac Conservancy funded technical assistance, landowner costs, and our Land Protection Team’s work to pursue protection of large-scale properties home to forests and sensitive streamside lands.
Former Land Protection Director and blog author, Emily Warner, explains the winning strategy behind the Conservancy’s conservation approach is rooted in forming personal connections with landowners. In this way, we cultivate close working relationships with prospective easement landowners and gain mutual trust in the process. Noting that, "human relationships are hugely important to land conservation," Emily highlights the ways in which our community comes together through shared core values to impart change at the local level.
Easement landowners help preserve the character of our rural and forested lands, restore local water quality, and build a clean water movement based on individual action. To date, the Conservancy holds 76 conservation easements protecting more than 13,100 acres of land in the Potomac watershed.
To learn more about the Shenandoah Valley Priority Lands Project and the value cooperation brings to the conservation process, please view the blog post in its entirety at https://www.americanrivers.org/blog/good-relationships-conservation-strategy-potomac-highlands/