Just two weeks ago, the University of Virginia Foundation put 1,150 acres near Monticello under a conservation easement, marking one of the early Chesapeake conservation successes of 2020. (Image: UVA Foundation)

We will shortly be profiling a set of Chesapeake conservation successes from 2019, illustrating the breadth of great work going on around the watershed. But, it’s never too early to tout one of the early successes of the new year. 

On January 17, the University of Virginia Foundation announced it has placed 1,150 acres of the Morven East property in Albemarle County under a conservation easement. Large portions of the property are visible from Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. The property lies within the Southern Albemarle Rural Historic District. It also includes over 11,000 linear feet of streams that are part of the Rivanna River watershed. 

“This is a neighborhood of historical homesteads and farms and we wanted to be sure we’re not changing the nature of the area,” UVA Foundation CEO Tim Rose said. “We’re grateful for the support of the county in making this happen.” 

The Foundation acquired the Morven property in 2001, as part of a major gift from the philanthropist John Kluge. Other portions of the Morven property, outside the easement area, are intended to be held in perpetuity by the University.

“This property has long been on a list of properties that the original owner John Kluge had intended for UVa to sell, and we may eventually sell it,” said UVa Rector Jim Murray, as quoted in the Daily Progress. “Before we do, we’re minimizing the amount of development that can occur there, and we’re doing it in an effort to fulfill UVa’s new strategic mission, which is to be a good neighbor for the entire community, for everyone.” 

There will be many more Chesapeake watershed conservation success stories to come in 2020, but hats off to one of the first!

Lightning Update is a regular communication of the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions of the Partnership or member organizations.
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Support for the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership is provided by:
National Park Service Chesapeake
EPA Chesapeake Bay Program
USDA Forest Service
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Virginia Outdoors Foundation
US Fish & Wildlife Service
Chesapeake Conservancy

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