This news release is from the previous Governor's administration.
For Immediate Release: January 29, 2015
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Brian Coy, 804-225-4260, | Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation: Julie Buchanan, 804-786-2292,

Governor Announces Land Conservation Grants

~$1.7 million awarded throughout Virginia~


RICHMOND — Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced the recipients of 14 grants totaling $1.7 million awarded by the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation, a state land conservation board. The grants will help add 5,729 acres to Virginia’s conserved lands. 

“The VLCF grants are money well spent,” said Governor McAuliffe. “The funding is critical to completing long-range conservation projects that protect working farms, forests, wildlife habitat, and historic resources. Many of the projects that are being funded also will help improve water quality and increase access to outdoor recreation opportunities.” 

VLCF grants are used by private land trusts, local governments and state agencies to protect and acquire special lands in the following categories: farmlands and forestry, historic areas, natural areas, and open spaces and parks. 

“Nearly 150 conservation projects have been made possible through VLCF grants since 1999, when the foundation was created,” said Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward, who chairs the foundation’s board. “The program provides an economical and efficient approach to conserving precious lands, protecting rivers and streams, and preserving farms and historic places for future generations.” 

The VLCF board is composed of 19 members appointed by the Governor, the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections and the Speaker of the House of Delegates. The board includes the Secretary of Natural Resources, who serves as chair, and the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation provides staff to the foundation.     

The following list provides the project name, requesting organization and VLCF funding for the 14 approved grants. 

Note: The dollar figures given reflect only the state grant amount and not the total cost of the project.


Project name


Requesting organization

Grant amount





Farms and Forest Preservation




Bacon’s Castle Farm

Surry County

Virginia Outdoors Foundation


This grant will help purchase a conservation easement on privately owned farmland that surrounds the historic Bacon’s Castle. The easement ensures the land is permanently protected from residential and commercial development. The land borders Chippokes Plantation State Park and 2.75 miles on Lower Chippokes Creek. The farm provides a scenic view along more than 2 miles of state roads.



Wainbur Farm

Fauquier County

Fauquier County Agricultural Development Department


This grant will help purchase a conservation easement on prime farmland. All crops grown on the property support a 350-cow dairy operation. The farm’s 4,000-foot border with Licking Run is fenced off from cattle and protected by a 35-foot vegetative buffer.



Jones Farm

Stafford County

Stafford County


This grant will help purchase a conservation easement on prime farmland. Thirteen acres are actively farmed for hay and 24 are mixed-timber forestland. A minimum 35-foot vegetative buffer protects 2,600 feet of stream and wetlands. The property’s public road frontage and well-drained soils make it subject to development pressure.



Big Woods-Westervelt

Sussex County

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries


This grant will help in the acquisition of property to establish a 7,700-acre network of protected land. The entirely forested property has the potential to support the rare pine-savannah forest type and will aid in Virginia’s effort to restore the native longleaf pine. This acquisition will benefit multiple wildlife species and increase public recreation opportunities.



Pigeon Hill

Essex County

Virginia Department of Forestry


This grant will help purchase a conservation easement to protect sustainably managed upland forests and more than 2 miles of sensitive tidal creek ecosystem. The property, located amid the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge, is important for preserving the migratory bird habitat the refuge protects. The easement will enable permanent protection of a 500-acre area.



Historic Resources




Stoner-Keller Mill Farm

Shenandoah County

Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation


This grant will help purchase an easement in the core area of the Fisher’s Hill Battlefield, permanently protecting intact earthworks and the Stoner-Keller House and mill. The property contains prime farmland and more than 4,000 feet of 35-foot vegetated buffers. The easement also will extend the Valley Pike/Fisher’s Hill Trail.



Natural Areas 




Lee County Cave Isopod Protection

Lee County

The Nature Conservancy


This grant will help purchase three properties in the Powell River/Cedars area that support the federally listed Lee County cave isopod, as well as habitat for other rare animals and plants. Once The Nature Conservancy acquires the land, it will be dedicated as part of The Cedars Natural Area Preserve and permanently protected as open space.



South Quay Sandhills Natural Area Preserve – Somerton Creek Tract


The Nature Conservancy


This grant will help build on nearly a decade of land-protection efforts in the South Quay area. It will protect pine sandhills habitat and cypress-tupelo swamp forest along Somerton Creek, a major tributary of the Blackwater River. The site is suitable for longleaf-pine restoration and is a conservation priority for TNC and DCR. The land is adjacent to the 2,882-acre South Quay Sandhills Natural Area Preserve.



Pedlar Hills Glades Natural Area Preserve Addition

Montgomery County

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation


This grant will enable the purchase of a tract to protect rare species and natural communities within the Elliston Glades conservation site at Pedlar Hills Glades NAP. Public ownership of this tract helps DCR achieve the longtime goal of developing public access to the natural area preserve.



Bald Knob Natural Area Preserve

Franklin County

Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund


This landmark is distinctive for its rock outcrop vegetation, rare-species habitat and significant natural communities. Rarities found here include the Piedmont fameflower (Phemeranthus piedmontanus). Many people come here in spring to enjoy the wildflower display. The long-range objective for this project, upon purchase of the land, is to donate the property to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation for a natural area preserve.



Parks and Open Space 




Vauxhall Island


City of Richmond


This grant will help ensure the long-term conservation of Vauxhall Island, a site with complex value to wildlife. Once purchased, the property will be a recreational space for boating and fishing as part of the James River Park System, a protected urban wilderness that attracts more than 1 million visitors each year.



Ware Creek Preserve

New Kent County

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries


This grant will help acquire an extraordinary and vast wetlands complex in an area that’s experiencing rapid growth and development. The parcel will be managed as a new wildlife management area and retain significant nesting and wintering habitat for migratory birds, nursery habitat for fish, and habitat for threatened and endangered species. Recreational opportunities will be available on the property.



New River Connector

Pulaski County

Pulaski County


This grant will help purchase land for public access to canoeing and fishing opportunities. It also will provide for the construction of a recreational trail to connect an elementary school, the community of Fairlawn, the New River and, ultimately, Bissett Park. The trail will cross existing bridge piers from Radford’s Battle of New River Bridge, a part of Virginia’s Civil War Trail.



Huntley Tract

Page County

Potomac Appalachian Trail Club


This grant will help to purchase land adjacent to Shenandoah National Park to expand the park and protect wildlife habitat. It will help to protect viewsheds along the Appalachian Trail near the Jewel Hollow Overlook and Tutwiler Hollow. The grant will enable the extension of Crusher Ridge Trail for public use.