Department of Conservation & Recreation-Division of Natural Heritage
Habitat Conservation/ Locality Liaison
Project Description as Proposed:
DCR's Natural Heritage Locality Liaison program works with local and regional planners to help protect natural heritage resources (rare plants, animals, exemplary natural communities and geologic features) by improving access to biodiversity information and consultative services from DCR and its comprehensive conservation information system. A key service provided is review of projects to identify and recommend mitigation for potential impacts to natural heritage resources. The Virginia Natural Heritage Data Explorer website www.vanaturalheritageexplorer.org, a subscription-based Natural Heritage Resources website, continues to be a useful tool for localities and conservation partners. The Locality Liaison will continue to work to make it available to localities and others, showing conservation sites and other natural heritage resource location information, which is useful both for project review and for conservation planning. Digital geospatial datasets will also be available for incorporation into local GIS. The Locality Liaison will work consultatively with locality planners to incorporate natural heritage resource concerns into local comprehensive plans and permitting processes.
The Locality Liaison will also assist localities and local conservation partners to identify and implement habitat conservation opportunities using tools such as the VCLNA, LCDE (www.vaconservedlands.org/gis.aspx) and DCR’s Wetland Restoration Catalog (www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/wetrestcat.shtml). An overall goal of the DCR-Virginia Natural Heritage program is that 65% of the counties and land trusts throughout the Virginia Coastal Zone will be provided with Natural Heritage information by the end of December 2009. Currently, the combined county and land trust percentage with Natural Heritage information is 62.5% within the Coastal Zone of Virginia.
Ali Baird, (804) 692-0984; Alice.firstname.lastname@example.org
10/1/2009 - 9/30/2010; Project completed
Final Product Received:
Natural Heritage – Locality Liasion/Habitat Restoration Final Report (October 1, 2009 - September 30, 2010) (pdf)
Project Summary Provided by Grantee:
Many presentations have been given to localities and other conservation partners, including: Virginia Outdoors Foundation; Potomac Conservancy; Capital Region Conservancy; Accomack County; Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission (PDC); Accomack-Northampton PDC; several divisions & regional offices of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ); James City County, City of Newport News, York County, Prince William County, City of Hopewell; several Dept. of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) Soil & Water Regional offices; and Dept. of Health (VDH). Presentations included an overview of DCR’s Natural Heritage Program, the Locality Assistance Program, the Natural Heritage Data Explorer (NHDE) website, the Virginia Conservation Lands Needs Assessment (VCLNA), the Land Conservation Data Explorer (LCDE), and the Wetland Restoration Catalog as well as other conservation tools. Natural Heritage information is updated quarterly and shapefiles including that information is distributed to all licensed participants.
The Locality Liaison provided language and Conservation Sites maps to Caroline County and to Mathews County that were included in their Comprehensive Plans. Prince William was provided digital data on rare natural communities for screening for natural heritage resources. Chesterfield County has been provided natural heritage information for inclusion in their Comprehensive Plan support material. The City of Hopewell has requested locations of natural heritage resources for use in the city’s environmental screening process. NASA requested screening data coverage for their Flight Facility at Wallops Island for planning purposes.
For 10/01/2009 through 9/30/2010, 934 projects were reviewed for impacts to natural Heritage resources in the coastal zone (43% of the projects reviewed statewide). Some of the projects involved activities on NASA’s Flight Facilities on Wallops Island including shoreline restoration, plans for installation of alternative energy sources (wind & solar) and development of an unmanned aerial systems airstrip on North Wallops Island. Fort Belvoir had numerous projects as a result of the Base Re-alignment and Closure Act (BRAC) including stream restoration, rehabilitation of existing buildings and new development. Additionally, through right-of-way maintenance recommendations, DCR-DNH and VDOT collaborated to conserve the only known population of Sun-facing coneflower (Rudbeckia heliopsis) in the state. Additional projects included an environmental assessment for Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan and the National Park Service Assateague Island National Seashore General Management Plan.
The Locality Liaison provided natural heritage information found on Fort A. P. Hill at their Earth Day celebration.
The Locality Liaison provided a revolving PowerPoint and flyer on Natural Heritage Conservation tools for the Preserving Our Commonwealth Land Conservation Conference. The flyer has been used for informational meetings with conservation partners.
Disclaimer: This project summary provides the federal dollars initially awarded to the grantee. Due to underexpenditure or reprogramming of grant funds, this figure may change. For more information on the allocation of coastal grant funds, please contact Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Program Manager, at 804.698.4323 or email: Laura.McKay@deq.virginia.gov
A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to Virginia.Witmer@deq.virginia.gov