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Date: August 14, 2009

Montgomery County Acreage now Conserved as Virginia?s 58th Natural Area Preserve

SHAWSVILLE ? The Sweet Springs property in Montgomery County is the latest addition to Virginia?s Natural Area Preserve System. The property?s owners, Mary and Ron Rordam, placed an easement on the land to protect globally rare woodland and habitat for rare plants. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the New River Land Trust will co-hold the easement.

"The Rordams have been great supporters of conservation in the New River region for a long time,? said John Eustis, assistant director of the New River Land Trust. ?Their establishment of a conservation easement and Natural Area Preserve on their Sweet Springs property exemplifies their commitment to conservation of the region?s rural heritage and to the stewardship of rare places." Ron Rordam is the mayor of Blacksburg.

The property, now known as the Sweet Springs Natural Area Preserve, is home to several rare plant species, including Cooper's milkvetch, and Addison's leatherflower, which is a plant found only in Virginia. Sweet Springs also lies within an outstanding area of globally rare ridge and valley dolomite woodlands and barrens.

?Natural Area Preserve designation is the strongest protection tool available to Virginia,? said DCR Director Joseph H. Maroon. ?This designation is reserved for the Commonwealth?s most significant natural areas, and we are very pleased to work with the family and the local land trust to provide protection to this wonderful property.?

The New River Land Trust and DCR applied for and were granted funding from the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation to protect this rare site. Co-holding this easement with the state will allow the land trust to apply for accreditation from its national organization ? the Land Trust Alliance.

?Our family is excited about protecting the endangered species and the land itself for generations to come,? said Mary Rordam. ?We have always taken our ownership of this land seriously but now our responsibility for the land has greater purpose.?

?Knowing that we have an ecosystem from long, long ago that has remained unchanged, with one of the most significant stands of several rare species in Virginia is very important and meaningful to us,? said Mayor Rordam. ?The easement puts into words our best hope for this land.?


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