4 years ago

Strategies for Conserving the Natural and ... - Fauquier County

Strategies for Conserving the Natural and ... - Fauquier County


MAP 1: FAUQUIER COUNTY CORES AND CORRIDORS IDENTIFIED FOR THEIR ECOLOGICAL VALUE Thus, we strongly recommend that the county prioritize its resources. This is the only way to ensure that the most valuable resources are preserved in the face of multiple threats. We suggest splitting priority areas into “conservation” and “restoration” cores and corridors. Conservation areas would be cores and corridors that have ecological value and connectivity but are lacking legal protection through conservation tools. Restoration areas would be areas that would greatly benefit from planting trees and establishing wildlife nodes and corridors. The strategies recommended below mirror this organizational scheme. In Appendix F, we have listed several areas not currently identified as cores and corridors that would benefit from conservation or restoration. It is our hope that Fauquier County will use this resource as a guide for 9

prioritizing its forestal resources based on their ecological value, proximity to impaired watersheds, linkage to recreational assets, quality of agricultural soils and proximity to service districts. We recommend that the county create a list of priority cores and corridors and share it with other organizations working to conserve and restore Fauquier County lands. This will help the county more easily communicate and achieve its goals. It is important to note that designating areas as nodes or corridors does not represent a special legal status that would adequately protect them. Fortunately, there are myriad tools to preserve habitat cores and corridors, including conservation easements, wildlife management areas and agri/forestal districts. Appendix G contains a list of these tools and how Fauquier County currently employs them. The tasks associated with our recommended strategies employ educational outreach, enhanced communication among stakeholders and active restoration of forestal resources. We have only suggested tasks that are feasible with the limited financial and personnel resources that state and county agencies face. The 10 Soldiers Hill Farm, Warrenton, VA benefits of these strategies are the ecosystem services mentioned in the introduction: better economies, improved public health, increased recreational opportunities, cleaner air, cleaner water, more wildlife habitat, and preservation of the rural landscape. Fauquier County should preserve these valuable benefits by protecting forested land. Objective 2A: Protect the highest value cores and corridors with conservation easements, agri/forestal districts and outreach campaigns. Action 1) To facilitate the strategic conservation of forest resources, the county should share the list and map of priority land conservation areas with land trust organizations holding easements in Fauquier, such as the Piedmont Environmental Council and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. Action 2) Land trust organizations should target their existing landowner approach efforts to landowners of priority conservation habitat cores and corridors (see Appendix F for a map of prioritized cores and corridors). Objective 2B: Connect forest cover in habitat cores and corridors identified as restoration corridors to enhance the quality of habitats for wildlife. Action 1) To facilitate the strategic restoration of forest resources, the county should create and share a list and map of priority land restoration areas with environmental or forestry groups in Fauquier, such as school environmental clubs, 4H and Future Farmers of America groups. Action 2) Apply for a Virginia Department of Forestry Urban and Community Forestry grant to fund the planting of forests on non-forested properties in identified restoration corridors (see Appendix H for more funding resources). Action 3) Install forested riparian buffers to increase forest cover and improve the ecological health of water systems (see Water section, Goal 1, Objective 3A)

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