The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, certifies land trusts that meet high national standards following a rigorous review process.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission recently announced the latest round of newly accredited land trusts — and three Chesapeake watershed organizations are on the list. 

The Capitol Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) serves the City of Richmond and the Counties of Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, Powhatan, New Kent, and Charles City in Virginia. The Conservancy works to “conserve and protect the natural and historic land and water resources of Virginia’s Capital Region for the benefit of current and future generations.” CRLC holds or co holds easements on almost 2,000 acres and has facilitated easements held by other agencies or land trusts on more than 6,000 additional acres. These include nearly 40 miles of riparian areas along streams and rivers and half of the 600 acre James River Park System in the City of Richmond. 

“Permanent land conservation is essential to our mission,” said Parker Agelasto, Capital Region Land Conservancy’s Executive Director. “Yet it requires a sustainable model, since the public has entrusted some of its most valued resources to our stewardship. The national accreditation process has made us a stronger organization for having gone through such a rigorous review.” 

Scenic Rivers Land Trust works within the Severn, South, Patuxent, Rhode and West River watersheds to preserve natural and scenic areas in Anne Arundel County. Scenic Rivers holds 68 conservation easements across the county, totaling more than 3,000 acres. The trust co-holds easements along with the Maryland Environmental Trust on the 900+ acre Bacon Ridge Natural Area the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s Contee Farm. 

“We are proud to be one of only five accredited local land trusts in Maryland,” said Scenic Rivers’ Executive Director Rick Leader. “Our conservation director, Sarah Knebel, led a team of board volunteers through the rigorous two-year review process to ensure that we are well-positioned to serve Anne Arundel County long into the future.”
Valley Conservation Council works to promote land use that sustains the farms, forests, open spaces, and cultural heritage of the greater Shenandoah Valley, with a service area of 11 counties in northwestern Virginia. The Council has helped has helped protect tens of thousands of acres. “Accreditation is a huge step forward for our organization and for the valley,” said Scott Kelly, the Council’s acting Executive Director. “Our region is an amazing place to live, to work, and to play. With this new recognition and nearly three decades of conservation experience under our belt, we’re better positioned than ever to protect the lands and waters that make it so special.”

There are more than thirty accredited local and regional land trusts in the Chesapeake watershed. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission was incorporated in April 2006 as an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance to build and recognize strong land trusts, foster public confidence in land conservation and help ensure the long-term protection of land. 

Accreditation is awarded to land trusts meeting the highest national standards for excellence and conservation permanence following a rigorous review process. The volunteers who serve on the Commission represent a diverse group of land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country.

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

The Chesapeake Conservation Partnership is co-convened by: