The Piedmont Environmental Council recently announced the annual roundup of land conservation throughout its nine-county region in Virginia. Private landowners, working with land trusts and public agencies, protected 12,430 acres in 2019. This represents the highest annual rate of conservation in the region since 2009.

“It was a big year for conservation in the PEC region,” said Piedmont Environmental Council President Chris Miller. “We commend these landowners for their vision and courage in conserving not just the land, but also all that its preservation offers the people, communities, local economies, wildlife and well-being of the northern Piedmont.”

“When we protect public and private lands from urban and suburban sprawl, we prevent impervious surfaces that are one of the main sources of pollution in our drinking water supplies, streams, rivers and bays. When we preserve undeveloped land, we preserve its natural flood control capacity and allow groundwater to recharge. When we protect working farmland, we invest in our food supply. When we maintain open spaces in forest and pasture that absorb carbon from our atmosphere, we play our part in addressing climate change issues. And for those millions of visitors to the Shenandoah National Park, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Monticello, Montpelier, and other historic landscapes in the northern Piedmont, land conservation preserves the spectacular views, the character, and quality of life of this region,” Miller said.

The nine-county northern Piedmont region encompasses Virginia’s Albemarle, Clarke, Culpeper, Fauquier, Greene, Loudoun, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock counties.

We profiled one of the larger 2019 Piedmont conservation successes in a prior Lightning Update, the donation of a 4,500 acre conservation easement near Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. All of 2019’s successes add to the landscape conserved in prior years, bringing the total land conserved in the nine-county region to 421,370 acres, over twice the size of Shenandoah National Park!