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NATURAL HERITAGE

Living on Karst

A Reference Guide for Landowners in Limestone Regions

Produced by the Cave Conservancy of the Virginias, June 1997



The Reason for this Guide

The residents of karst areas need to be aware of how day-to-day activities affect the groundwater and fragile ecosystems in their karst regions. The Cave Conservancy of the Virginias recognized the need for information about karst resources and produced this guide. The Cave Conservancy, established in 1980, has been chartered to protect karst in Virginia and West Virginia. The Cave Conservancy has dedicated its efforts towards the conservation of the over 5,000 wild caves found in the Virginias. The Cave Conservancy has directed conservation work toward the protection of all cave resources, including habitats for endangered species, cave watersheds and springs, and important recreational caves. Education of the public about caves and cave resources is a primary goal of the Cave Conservancy. This guide is foreseen to play a major role in assisting landowners to become more aware of the significance of living in a karst environment.

This guide will be helpful to homeowners, farmers, cave entrance owners, business people, and anyone who lives, works, or plays in karst areas. Additionally, the guide will be useful to educators, developers, park managers, watershed and conservation groups. Karst is an important resource in your state. Not only does karst contain beautiful features such as fragile cave formations, it also may hold the key to the health of an entire town or city by its links to drinking water. The Cave Conservancy board and staff hope that a greater understanding of karst resources will come by reviewing this guide.

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