Environment Law News – Conservation Group Receives Environmental Excellence Award for Protecting more than 280 Acres in the City of Richmond

Richmond — April 22, 2010 — The Capital Region Land Conservancy (“CRLC”) is pleased to announce the non-profit received a 2010 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award for its work with the City of Richmond, Richmond Recreation and Parks Foundation and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to preserve more than 280 acres of the James River Park System in the heart of Richmond. CRLC and its partners developed a conservation easement to protect land around the James River from development in perpetuity. The easement’s focus on a major urban park is the first of its kind in the Commonwealth.

The Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards recognize those leaders in the Commonwealth who have made an outstanding contribution towards protecting and conserving the Commonwealth’s environment, and whose actions have benefited the health and welfare of Virginia’s communities and the state as a whole. The Awards are supported by Virginia’s Governor, the Secretary of Natural Resources, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Virginia Manufacturers Association’s Outreach. CRLC accepted the award on April 7 at the Environment Virginia conference in Lexington.

The James River Park System Conservation Easement protects more than 280 acres along the James River, including Pony Pasture Rapids and Huguenot Flatwater in South Richmond, Belle Isle near downtown, and North Bank Park and Great Shiplock Park on the river’s north side, as well as river frontage in a segment of the river designated as the Historic Falls of the James State Scenic River.

“We are very happy to have obtained this result to preserve the natural land around the James for all generations of Richmonders,” said Brooks Smith, CRLC Board member and a partner with Hunton & Williams LLP.

A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits future development of the land in order to protect its conservation values. The conservation easement generally limits the development to only allow for the replacement of existing structures, and explicitly prohibits all commercial activity.

As a grantee under the easement, CRLC will continue with the other holders to serve as a steward of the Park and enforce the restrictions found in the easement. Representatives from the four organizations worked for more than four years to develop an agreement that satisfied all parties involved. Hunton & Williams provided pro bono legal advice for the project to the Capital Region Land Conservancy.

Central Virginia’s only land trust dedicated solely to serving the City of Richmond and Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, Powhatan, New Kent, and Charles City counties, the Capital Region Land Conservancy is a private, non-profit charitable organization. CRLC was founded in 2005 by local citizens who recognized the urgent need to engage landowners who want to be a part of supporting the region’s quality of life through protection of its natural resources. CRLC’s mission is to promote the conservation of the capital region’s historically significant land, scenic natural areas and ecologically sensitive land, water and wildlife resources.

Contact: Tara C. Quinn, CPSM
Capital Region Land Conservancy
(804) 301-5352
[email protected]

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