Grant to aid conservation

Daily staff report

The Valley Conservation Council recently received $170,000 from the Chesapeake Bay Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to help protect the region’s land and waterways.

The grant came from the foundation’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund that seeks to improve the condition of local watersheds through restoration, habitat conservation and community engagement, according to a press release from the council.

The council’s project, Land and Water Connections: Perpetuating Healthy Streams, supports conservation easements on Shenandoah Valley farms that implement agricultural Best Management Practices such as forested riparian buffers and livestock stream exclusion.

The two-year project focuses on headwater watersheds in Augusta, Rockingham and Shenandoah counties to offer incentive payments to aid landowners with the costs of undertaking a conservation easement. The program also includes a cash incentive for donating an easement to an appropriate easement holder. The incentive programs are in addition to other tax benefits available to easement donors.

The private, nonprofit land trust promotes land use that sustains farms, forests, open spaces and cultural heritage in the counties of Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Botetourt, Frederick, Highland, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah and Warren. Visit www.valleyconservation.org for more information.