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. 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 70% of the counties and land trusts throughout the Virginia Coastal Zone will be provided with Natural Heritage information by the end of December 2010. Currently, the combined county and land trust percentage with Natural Heritage information is 62.5% within the Coastal Zone of Virginia.
Thomas Smith, (804) 786-4554; Thomas.Smith@dcr.virginia.gov
10/1/2010 - 9/30/2011
Final Product Received:
Natural Heritage - Locality Liaison/Habitat Restoration Final Report (pdf)
Project Summary Provided by Grantee:
For the 2010 grant year, 988 projects were reviewed for impacts to natural heritage resources in the coastal zone (44% of the projects reviewed statewide). Some of the projects involved continued activity on NASA’s Flight Facilities on Wallops Island including final shoreline restoration documents and final plans for installation of alternative energy sources (wind & solar). Fort Belvoir continued to have numerous projects as a result of the Base Re-alignment and Closure Act (BRAC) including recreational facilities, infrastructure upgrades, rehabilitation of existing buildings and new development. Additionally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requested information about natural heritage resources for the National Wildlife Refuge Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plans for Mason Neck, Featherstone, and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) and held a preliminary scoping meeting on the Presquile NWR plan.
Many presentations have been given to localities and other conservation partners, including: The City of Alexandria, Hampton Land Conservancy, James River Association, City of Williamsburg, Arlington County, Northampton County, King William County, City of Portsmouth, Fort A. P. Hill, Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, Spotsylvania County, Hanover-Caroline Soil & Water Conservation District, and Tri-County/City Soil & Water Conservation District. In addition, two consultants were trained; the Timmons Group and A. Morton Thompson & Associates, Inc. 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 Charles City County, Essex County, King George County, King William County, Mathews County, New Kent County, Northampton County, Prince William County, and York County for use in their Comprehensive Plans and/or supporting documents.
The Locality Liaison gave a presentation on the benefits of riparian buffers for water quality and natural heritage resources for the Middle James River Roundtable meeting on March 15, 2011. The Locality Liaison also attended the 2010 CZM Coastal Partner’s Workshop at DEQ in Richmond on December 8, 2010.
On April 14, 2011, the Locality Liaison provided natural heritage information found on Fort A. P. Hill in Caroline County at the Army’s Earth Day Event on site for several hundred students and teachers.
The DCR-DNH continues to seek funding for the Wetland Restoration Catalog which is available on the DEQ Coastal GEMS website, found at: <http://220.127.116.11/gems2/>. DCR-DNH has developed a revised methodology to identify more opportunities of wetland and stream restoration and was tested in an 11-subwatershed pilot area of the Pamunkey River.
The Information Services Order Form, that can be filled out online, was posted on the DCR web site. The form may be found at: http://dcrintra.dcr.virginia.gov/DCR_Public/NH/NHServiceFormNF.cfm.
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