What is the “Healing Waters Land Prioritization Plan” a green infrastructure approach to land protection?
This plan is a green infrastructure approach to land protection that identifies the most ecologically rich and economically beneficial areas of the Cacapon and Lost Rivers watershed to protect and neighboring parcels to form blocks of conservation hubs and corridors.
What is Green Infrastructure?Green infrastructure are strategically planned and managed networks of natural lands, working landscapes and other open spaces that conserve ecosystem values and functions and provide associated benefits to human populations, wildlife and waterways.
What are hubs and corridors and why are they important to conservation in the Cacapon and Lost Rivers watershed?
The Cacapon and Lost Rivers watershed is rich in natural resources such as forests, productive soils, rivers, springs and wetlands. This natural capital is important to the economic viability as well as the ecological viability of the local community. By ensuring blocks of land remain available for farming and forestry, we are helping to protect the economic infrastructure associated with farms, forests and tourism in our region.
Hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing are strong local and rural traditions. By maintaining large blocks of undeveloped lands the biodiversity, genetic diversity and health of both game and nongame species will be protected.
How does it work?
“Neighbors talking to neighbors” has been the most effective pathway to protecting large blocks of land in the watershed. It takes just one person to start the ball rolling. Often when neighbors learn that adjacent properties will be protected from large scale development in the future, they are more comfortable making the decision to protect their own land.
Right now, the Trust is working to expand hub/corridor areas that connect publicly protected lands through privately protected lands. This “connection” doesn’t mean boundaries are shared. It means that there is a contiguous connection of protected land that benefits wildlife, and maintains clean water and healthy ecosystems.
Hubs are large blocks of natural areas that provide habitat for plant and animal life. They include large, protected areas, such as state and federal lands that are managed for natural and recreational values, and private farms and forests that are predominantly open and protected through conservation easements. Large contiguous blocks of interior forest are essential to maintain healthy wildlife and clean water.
Corridors are the linear features that, when protected, will tie hubs together. These lands may include river and stream valley corridors, including protecting riparian areas, and forested upland corridors.
If you are interested in protecting your land through a conservation easement, please contact Emily Warner, Executive Director of the Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust; firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-856-1188.