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

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

RESTORATION PRIORITY #1-

RESTORATION PRIORITY #1- NORTHEASTERN CORE Northern Fauquier County is under great development pressure from Washington DC urban sprawl. Landowners have anticipated this trend by putting much of the northern part of the county into agri/forestal districts and conservation easements. However, most of these easements do not contain forested areas; the cores that do exist tend to be of lower rankings. The highly ranked habitat nodes that exist in northern Fauquier are located along the county borders. Extending these nodes is easier to accomplish than creating and connecting new cores. Doing so in northeastern Fauquier will provide wildlife habitat that no longer exists in counties closer to Washington DC. It also protects the rural experience that attracts residents and tourists to Fauquier County. RESTORATION PRIORITY #2- SERVICE DISTRICTS CORRIDOR Constructing wildlife habitat along a highway corridor is a challenging feat, and admittedly, is not the primary reason we selected this corridor as a priority. This strategy was suggested because of its potential to add green infrastructure to the service districts and connect recreational resources in southern Fauquier. Residents of southern Fauquier have fewer recreational opportunities than those of northern Fauquier; this strategy builds forest resources in and around service districts, thus promoting opportunities close to where people live. 27

RESTORATION PRIORITY #3- RAPPAHANNOCK CORRIDOR The third restoration area was chosen as a case study for improving impaired watersheds. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has declared the Rappahannock River as a 5A impaired stream, the highest level of impairment. Riparian buffers can reduce phosphorous in streams by up to 99% and nitrogen by 10-60% (Hellmund and Smith: 2006). If buffers were placed along the corridor shown below, the water quality of the Rappahannock and other streams in southern Fauquier would significantly improve. The “Rappahannock Corridor” connects two ecological cores of high importance, but these nodes are far away from each other. Therefore, it is crucial that the county investigate opportunities for more nodes along this corridor, or establish buffer width guidelines that facilitate habitat migration (300 feet is the recommended width). 28

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