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Date: June 08, 2005

Virginia Land Conservation Foundation grants awarded

(RICHMOND, Va.) - Helping a family continue farming land they have owned since the 1600s, protecting two old-growth stands of northern red oak in Giles County, enlarging a town park, purchasing part of a Civil War battlefield slated for development, and purchasing a 2,000 acre Eastern Shore island are how a few of the 12 grants approved by the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation will be used.

The VLCF, a state land conservation board, approved grants totaling approximately $3 million. VLCF grants are used to acquire and protect special lands in the following categories: open space and parks, historic areas, farm and forestry and natural areas. This year, the foundation received 24 requests totaling more than $6.2 million. The grants require a minimum of a 50 percent match. These projects represent more than $12.25 million in public and private money going to land conservation across the state.

"This is the first time the foundation has had grant funding available during the Warner administration," said Joseph Maroon, director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the foundation's executive secretary. "The number and strength of proposals submitted speaks to the importance placed on land conservation throughout the Commonwealth." DCR staffs the foundation.

The following list provides the project name, requesting organization and VLCF funding for the 12 approved grants:

Open Space and Parks
- Cedar Creek Bluff (Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation): Purchase a conservation easement on 117 acres in newly established Cedar Creek and Belle Grove Historical Park. $244,793.50.
- Mount Pleasant Farm (Potomac Conservancy): Purchase of a conservation easement on a 106-acre property on Cedar Creek in a rapidly developing area of Shenandoah County. $100,000.
- Fray Tract (Wildlife Foundation): Acquire 550 acres in Madison County bounded by the Rapidan Wildlife Management Area and Shenandoah National Park. Will become part of Rapidan WMA and accessible to the public. $190,500.
- Fairview Park (Town of Woodstock): Purchase 23 acres to expand the existing park. $250,000.

Historic Preservation
- Fishers Hill (Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation): Facilitate acquisition of 25 acres of Shenandoah County battlefield including earthworks. To be accessible to public. $212,408.50.
- Battle of Brandy Station Park (Brandy Station Foundation): Acquisition of 19 acres of Culpeper County battlefield slated for residential development. To be accessible to public. $362,400.
- Riveroak (Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation): Purchase 938 acres at the Louisa County battlefield. Long term plans to be open to public. $200,000.

Farmlands and Forestry
- Port Tobacco (Virginia Outdoors Foundation): Placing a conservation easement on a 1,803-acre Essex County farm owned by the same family since the 1600s. Home to two endangered species. $258,000.
- Black Farms Property (The Nature Conservancy): Places an easement on 222 acres of farmland in Northampton County. $400,000.
- Page Project (Albemarle County): Purchase of development rights on 559 acres of farm and forestlands 10 miles southwest of Charlottesville. $85,433.

Natural Areas Protection
- Marks and Jacks Island (The Nature Conservancy): Purchase the 2,000 ocean-side island in Accomack County on Virginia's Eastern Shore. Considered a globally significant site. $500,000.
- Gilvary Forest/Chestnut Ridge (The 500 Year Forest): Protect 225 acres of old-growth northern red oak threatened by logging on Chestnut Ridge in Giles County through purchase of a natural area preserve deed of dedication and conservation easement. $224,130.

Editor's note: The dollar figures given reflect only the state grant amount and not the total cost of the project. Contact Gary Waugh at (804) 786-5045 for more details on the projects receiving grants.

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