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Media inquiries: Please contact Julie Buchanan,, 804-786-2292.

Date: April 01, 2011
Contact: Julie Buchanan, Public Relations Specialist, (804) 786-2292,

DCR expands Chub Sandhill Natural Area Preserve

RICHMOND — Virginia’s Chub Sandhill Natural Area Preserve has gained 467 acres with the recent acquisition of an adjacent property in Sussex County, putting the preserve’s total size at 1,066 acres.

The addition represents a critical step in the long-term conservation of one of the most biologically intact rivers in the Albemarle-Pamlico watershed, the second largest estuarine area in the United States. The property has more than three miles of frontage on the Nottoway River and supports significant bottomland hardwood communities.

“Conservation of this property will aid in our effort to restore globally rare longleaf pine forests, and help protect the vital water supply for more than 700,000 people in the Norfolk metropolitan area,” said David A. Johnson, director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

DCR acquired the land using a Forest Legacy grant provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. Forest Legacy grants are administered by the Virginia Department of Forestry and designed to protect threatened forests that contribute to water quality, wildlife habitat, public recreation or forest products.

Additional funds came from Dominion Virginia Power and state bonds.

The property was purchased from Conservation Forestry LLC, an investment company based in Exeter, N.H.

“Our company purchases and manages timberland in part to achieve conservation outcomes,” said Kent Gilges, managing member of Conservation Forestry. “This sale was a great opportunity to achieve that for this property. It’ll be a great addition to the preserve.”

DCR manages Virginia’s Natural Area Preserve System, which consists of 60 preserves across the state, totaling 50,492 acres. The preserves support some of the best examples of natural communities and rare plant and animal species in Virginia and the world. Twenty-one preserves, including Chub Sandhill, have parking areas and trails that allow visitors to hike, study nature and learn about the environment.

Chub Sandhill, once the shore of an ancient estuary, has a unique natural history. The fire-maintained natural community is a product of the deep, sandy soils. These dry areas were prone to fire from lightning strikes and American Indians’ use of fire. Many of the plants that occur here depend on fire to reduce competition from other species and stimulate reproduction.

Recreational opportunities at the preserve include 1.2 miles of walking trails and a platform for viewing the Nottoway River. Spring is the best time for birding and viewing wildflowers in bloom, as well as for avoiding summer’s biting insects.

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